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As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Houllier making his own selection choices at Villa

New Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier doesn't take into account the names and reputations of players when he selects his teams according to winger Stewart Downing.

The Frenchman has not been scared to rotate his players around in his opening two matches in charge, bringing in the likes of Emile Heskey, Luke Young, Nigel Reo-Coker and Downing to great effect which is refreshing for the players following the tenure of Martin O'Neill who preferred to play favourites.

Downing said it was great for the club that all players were now back in contention for first team football as it makes things much more competitive.

"The new manager isn't bothered about players' names or egos," Downing said.

"All the squad is on their toes and competition is healthy.

"Nigel has come in and done very well. Stephen Ireland has just come to a club and he is finding it hard to get in the team at the minute.

"I am sure he is disappointed but Nigel is playing very well and he deserves to play.

"That is the way it is no matter who you are or how much you cost.

"Whoever plays well gets in the team and if you are not playing well you are out."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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