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Villa midfielder Sidwell grateful for Brighton experience

Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell says his time on-loan at Brighton helped his career.

Sidwell spent time with the Seagulls while on the books of Arsenal and paid tribute to his old club before Saturday's FA Cup win.

"My time at Brighton was short but sweet, probably one of the most enjoyable I've had as a professional footballer," he told the Birmingham Mail.

"It helped the way I was performing and scoring goals. Off the pitch the fans were one of the best bunch I have ever played for, considering the stadium down there and the set-up. They were fantastic.

"I didn't want to leave. We played Reading and Reading put in a bid to Arsenal, which was accepted.

"I asked to stay at Brighton for the rest of the season and then go on to Reading at the end of the season but Reading wanted to get the deal done.

"I was desperate to stay down there, because I had such a good time. Unfortunately it didn't work out like that. Even now I still look out for their results, because it is a local club for me.

"I've still got a place down in the south at Reigate.

''I know a lot of people that support the club, so I find out a lot about what is happening."

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