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Sidwell sign for Aston Villa



Martin O'neill has heralded the signing of Steve Sidwell and insisted that he has been keen on the midfielder since well before he became surplus to demands at Chelsea.



Sidwell, 25, left Reading last summer on a free to join the Blues, but found first team opportunities hard to come by under Jose Mourinho or indeed Avram Grant - even amidst the winter injury crisis that also saw a handful of players on duty at the African Cup of Nations.

Now, with Gareth Barry a virtual certainty to leave the club, O'Neill has made his move for the well-rounded midfielder, who jumped at the opportunity to try to resurrect his career at Villa Park.

"Steve played for Reading in my first match at Villa Park. You always take note of players who do well against you and he stuck in my mind, " O'Neill was quoted as saying in The Mirror.

"When we later played at Reading he scored two goals against us. Again, the quality of his performance stayed with me."

When talking about the future of the club captaincy recently, O'Neill even hinted that the new £5million signing might even be in line for the captain's armband, though veteran defender Martin Laursen still has to be considered top favourite for the dutiful honour.

Profile:

Steve Sidwell Chelsea 2007/08 profile size


Steve Sidwell joined Reading from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee in January 2003, after rising through the youth ranks but never making a first team appearance for the Gunners.

Steve Coppell signed him on loan at Brentford in the autumn of 2001, where he played 35 times, scoring four goals, before he marked his return to Arsenal with a goal after just 13 seconds in the National Academy League play-off final against Liverpool.

After this, he stayed at Belgian team Beveren but soon returned to England, once again with Steve Coppell, but this time at Brighton where he scored five times in 12 games.

It was no surprise therefore when Alan Pardew made the move for him in the 2003 January transfer window allowing Sidwell to make his full debut for the club during a 3-1 defeat to Leicester, where he was unlucky enough to miss a penalty.

His next appearance, however, was more succesful as he found the net twice in a 5-2 win at Burnley, before going on a run of 11 straight appearances steering his side to the play-offs where they lost to Wolves in the semi-final.

That summer saw him named as the first Reading player to ever be named in England's Under-21 side before he teamed up Steve Coppell for a third time after Coppell took over from Alan Pardew in autumn 2003.

Under Coppell, he continued to be a vital part of the Royals' machinery and signed a new deal in 2004 as well as winning a poll in Four Four Two magazine looking for the best player outside the Premiership.

A knee injury kept him on the sidelines for long periods during the 2005/06 season, but he returned to play an important role in Reading's eventual promotion.

He was named the Football League's second best player in the first ever Football League Awards ceremony in 2005 and took this fine form into the 2006/07 season as he scored four goals in 37 games.


Indeed, so important was Shorey to the Royals success that he was snapped up by Chelsea in the summer of 2007 on a free transfer.

However, his first season at Chelsea was a poor one, as he struggled to find a place in the team, and it looks likely he will move on this summer.

Sidwell sign for Aston Villa Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:40 AM Rating: 5

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