Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier urges players to move closer to club’s ground

Boss demands sacrifices from players if they want to reach the top
Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier will insist on future signings moving closer to Villa Park.

Houllier, who joined the club in September, suggested that those who refuse to live close to the club in the Midlands lack commitment.

He flagged up Stephen Ireland's decision to commute from Cheshire as the reason behind the midfielder's failure to settle into the club after his £8 million move from Manchester City.

Ireland is keen to leave the club during the January transfer window, and Houllier believes commuting is the main problem.

He was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: "Obviously, he doesn't live in Birmingham."

But when asked directly about the problem, he added: "This is a matter for me to address - but later on. I only came here in September. It's only now that I'm discovering a few things."

The general expectation from English club's is that players live within a 25 mile radius of their ground, but Houllier's squad has been allowed to spread out.

Luke Young is based in south London, Stephen Warnock is in the north west, while Robert Pires remains in the capital.

Houllier is unsympathetic towards any players that find it uncomfortable to move, enforcing that sacrifices must be made.

He said: "We are changing things here. People whinge and moan but they have a fantastic job.

"They are paid high wages to play and enjoy football. They will have three days off this week because we have a hectic schedule over Christmas and the New Year. But sometimes they forget all of that.

"OK, they've got talent. They are at a good club. They are paid to play and enjoy their football. So, what's wrong?"

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