Aston Villa are looking to sell Stephen Ireland in January, according to every Villa fan's favorite writer, Stuart James. Take what James says with a grain of salt, but it would not be at all surprising to see Ireland go next month. After all, we all know he hasn't been performing-we were excited to see him not actively mess up. According to James, Ireland won't even be on the bench for the Wigan game, even though Ashley Young has a knee injury and cannot play.
Richard Dunne also won't be in the squad, says James. Again, he likes his rabble-rousing, but not surprising. The players aren't enjoying their new training regime, not one bit, at least, not the older ones. "Adapt or die," says Houllier, which was also reported in the tabloids this morning, so Mr James is likely not making that one up. They might not die, but they certainly won't be included. This is a rebellion that should be encouraged.
Remember the end of last season, after the same starting XI were trotted out every match? They were clearly unfit for anything except perhaps breathing. I'd rather have a fit squad of young'ins, all focused on the same goal, then those unwilling to conform to a strict regimen that will allow the club to move forward. As long as it's not Ashley Young or Stewart Downing that's complaining, I'll trust Houllier. There's no way that having a fitter squad won't help the team be better down the line. It's not like he's implementing the methods that Rafael Benitez is using at Inter Milan--just the opposite, in fact. More ball work? More practice matches? Bring it on. The players who seem most accepting of this are the ones that are improving in front of everyone's eyes.
And in one random bit of news, Carlos Cuellar let twitter know that the players don't share rooms when traveling. Which really put to rest a lot of mental images, sadly enough.