Truce called in football drama

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A truce has been called in a highly public war of words between Norwegian football’s star international striker John Carew and his manager at English Premier League club Aston Villa. Carew’s future with Villa, however, remains unclear.

John Carew PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons

The disagreement between Carew and Aston Villa’s manager, Gerard Houllier, was so bitter this time that speculation had grown over whether Carew would soon be moving on to another club. Carew has a history of disagreements with Houllier from the time when both were attached to French club Lyon.

The Norwegian striker left Lyon and joined Birmingham-based Aston Villa after a bust-up with Houllier in 2007, and it’s still widely believed the player will be looking for another new club in the upcoming January transfer window (the period of time in which clubs in Europe are next allowed to buy and sell players).

Despite earlier promises that the two would put their differences behind them when Houllier joined Villa in September, their dispute flared up after Carew publicly denounced remarks the French manager had made about potential negotiations around a new contract for the player. Houllier made his comments to the British media, something which the Norwegian forward interpreted as a challenge that he needed to prove himself and which insulted “both me and the fans.”

“Prove myself? There’s a reason why the fans are singing my name,” Carew told Norwegian reporters. He went on to claim that Houllier “has more to prove than many others in the club,” and also described himself as “puzzled and offended” by the Frenchman’s attitude.

In response, Houllier called the 31-year-old Carew “stupid” and derided him for “living in the past.”

“Somebody asked me if (the prospect of a new contract) was a good chance for him and I said yes. What do you want me to say? No?” added Houllier. “He should look at the figures, how long has he played and how many goals have we scored when he has been playing. I didn’t lack respect for him but in doing that, he is lacking respect for me.”

Now, however, Aston Villa has released a statement saying the two had “resolved” their differences following a meeting on Monday. The “matter has been dealt with internally,” according to the statement.

Carew, who remains popular with Villa fans following three seasons as the club’s top goal scorer, is understood to be keen to remain in the English game but open-minded about the chance of playing elsewhere in Europe. The striker has played 85 times for the Norwegian national team, scoring 23 goals. After starting his career in Norway with Vålerenga and Rosenborg, he has plied his trade at top European clubs like Valencia in Spain, Roma in Italy and Beşiktaş in Turkey.

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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