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This is what happened to Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa signings

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 12/03/2019 Conor Stroud

Martin O'Neill will come up against Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

Ex-Villa manager O'Neill, formerly of Leicester City, Celtic and Sunderland, left his role as Republic of Ireland boss and replaced Aitor Karanka at the City Ground in January.

O’Neill will be remembered at Villa for three sixth-place finishes, two trips to Wembley, some European adventures and an unsavoury ending to life at Villa Park.

During his four years in charge he was very active in the transfer market with some of his signings more successful than others.

We recap every player recruited during the O’Neill era, and find out what they are doing now.

Stiliyan Petrov

Bulgarian International Stiliyan Petrov was and still is a legend around Villa Park, thanks to his seven seasons with the club.

He was O’Neill’s first signing, and made 185 appearances for the club until he was forced into retirement after being diagnosed with leukaemia, which he would later beat.

Petrov now regularly visits Bodymoor Heath and Villa Park, as well as establishing his own charity, the Stiliyan Petrov Foundation, while he has also been studying towards his coaching badges.

Didier Agathe

The full-back made six substitute appearances in his one season with the club, before leaving to set up an academy for young footballers in his native Réunion.

Agathe returned to Celtic in 2013 for a charity match in aid of the Stiliyan Petrov Foundation, playing in a “Celtic XI”.

Chris Sutton

He would score his one and only goal for Villa against Everton, but was forced into retirement after suffering an eye injury that left him with blurred vision.

Sutton now is regularly seen on TV, as a pundit for BT Sport and BBC and is active on social media.

John Carew

After leaving Villa, Carew moved to West Ham United in the Championship, scoring twice in 19 appearances.

Since retiring from football in 2013, Carew has featured in films including, Dead of Winter and Hovdinger, a Norweigan-made thriller.

He watched Villa with Prince William after becoming friends with the royal during an event in his native Norway.

Ashley Young

O’Neill broke Villa’s transfer record to bring in Ashley Young, who was later sold on to Manchester United for around £20 million after four seasons with the club.

He has found himself in and out of favour at Old Trafford, converting to a full-back role under Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Shaun Maloney

Scotland international Shaun Maloney joined Celtic and later Wigan Athletic after his departure from Aston Villa in 2008.

He was instrumental in Wigan’s Premier League survival in 2012 and FA Cup victory in 2013, before moving to Chicago Fire and then Hull City where he finished his playing career.

Now a coach with the Belgium national team.

Harry Forrester

Highly rated as a youngster, Forrester failed to make the grade at Villa and moved to Brentford in 2011.

The England youth international would then move to Doncaster Rovers and Rangers, and a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon.

Now 28, Forrester is playing for Orange County in the USA.

Eric Lichaj

USA international Lichaj moved to Nottingham Forest in 2013.

He scored twice to help knock Arsenal out of the FA Cup in January 2018. His wife promised him he could get a dog if he scored a hat-trick, but relented and he got a pooch anyway, who he named Gunner.

He's playing in the Championship for Hull City now.

Nigel Reo-Coker

Reo-Coker moved to the MLS in 2013 joining the Vancouver Whitecaps, but it was Montreal Impact where he was most successful.

His side took part in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they were defeated in the final by Club America of Mexico.

He played for IK Start in Norway and joined MK Dons for a short stint.

Marlon Harewood

In amongst playing for a host of Football League sides, Harewood played in China for Guangzhou R&F, helping them secure promotion back to the Chinese Super League.

He played non league football and set up a business modifying footballers' luxury sports cars.

Zat Knight

The man that was once signed for 30 tracksuits, Zat Knight also headed for the US, joining Colorado Rapids in 2014 but his stint lasted just five months.

The twice-capped England international later joined Reading, but would retire in 2015.

Moustapha Salifou

Salifou would only play four times for Aston Villa in his stop-start career, despite featuring for Togo in World Cups and African Cup of Nations.

He most recently joined Turkspor Augsburg in the German sixth tier, and last season was banned for eight matches for shouting at a referee.

Wayne Routledge

After his Villa career lasting just two games, he struggled to find a permanent home until joining Swansea City in 2011.

He has since played over 170 Premier League matches for the Swans, and remains a key figure on either wing.

Curtis Davies

Most Villa fans will know that former West Bromwich Albion defender Davies made the controversial move across the city, joining Birmingham City in 2011.

Since then he joined Hull City and Derby County, where he still plays.

Steve Sidwell

Sidwell enjoyed six more years in the Premier League, for Fulham and Stoke City before moving to Brighton & Hove Albion.

He's now enjoying retirement and embarking upon a career in punditry.

Brad Friedel

Friedel joined Tottenham Hotspur after his contract expired at Aston Villa, and enjoyed a full season in goal before making way for Hugo Lloris in 2013.

He retired in 2015, and in November 2017 was appointed as the head coach of MLS team New England Revolution.

Brad Guzan

Following Villa’s relegation in 2016, Guzan departed for Middlesbrough in search of Premier League football.

The US international now plays for MLS expansion side Atlanta United.

Nicky Shorey

Fullback Shorey stayed in the Premier League at West Bromwich Albion and later Reading, before eventually moving to Pune City of the Indian Super League.

His stay in Asia lasted just one season, and since then he has joined the coaching staff at Stevenage.

Luke Young

Former England international Luke Young joined QPR in 2012 but was plagued by injury, which led Mark Hughes and later Harry Redknapp to rule him out of their 25 man squad.

Of his 379 league appearances, all but one was in the Premier League. His final match was in the Championship, against Blackburn Rovers.

Carlos Cuellar

Popular defender Carlos Cuellar left in 2012 to join Sunderland, and later moved to Norwich and Almeria in Spain.

He became a vegan. Currently Cuellar is in Israel, playing for Bnei Yehuda.

James Milner

Since leaving Villa in 2010 he has gone on to greater success, winning two league titles at Manchester City before moving to Liverpool in 2015.

He holds the record for most England under 21 appearances with 46 caps and progressed to regular action with the senior side.

Stewart Downing

Downing left a season after O’Neill’s departure in 2011, joining Liverpool for £20 million.

He later joined West Ham United and then moved back to his boyhood club Middlesbrough where his side gained promotion to the Premier League in 2016.

Fabian Delph

All-action midfielder Delph left in controversial circumstances when stating he was staying at Aston Villa, only to make a dramatic U-turn a week later, joining Manchester City. He won the League Cup in 2016 and the Premier League title in 2018.

Habib Beye

UEFA Cup runner-up Habib Beye had a disappointing three years at Aston Villa, and failed to make an impact at Doncaster Rovers where he would end his career.

The Senegal international made just 22 appearances for the Yorkshire side, and subsequently retired in 2012.

Stephen Warnock

Warnock initially moved to Bolton Wanderers on loan, before moving to Leeds, Derby, Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion.

Now can be seen or heard as a pundit on TV or radio.

He is one of few players that has England caps but can also play for Scotland, as his two England appearances were in friendlies.

James Collins

Collins would rejoin West Ham United in 2012, and remained a regular in the Hammers backline until the summer of 2018 when he'd be released.

After being offered a short-term deal with Villa, following a stint training at Bodymoor Heath, Collins injured himself and decided against picking up a wage without being able to contribute.

Now on a short-term deal at Ipswich Town.

The Welshman was a part of the famous Euro 2016 side, featuring in matches against Belgium and Portugal.

Richard Dunne

Republic of Ireland international Richard Dunne joined QPR in 2013, achieving promotion into the Premier League at the first attempt, but would be relegated the following season.

He then left QPR, and despite offers from the USA, China and India he retired in November 2015. He now lives in Monte Carlo with his family.

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