Steve Round: Villa players must give everything
Villa director of football Steve Round said the club will only recruit players who will give their all for the claret and blue shirt.
After years of failure in the transfer market which eventually ended in relegation from the Premier League in 2016, Round said the culture had finally changed at Villa Park under the new ownership of Tony Xia.
And Round said any players wishing to play for Villa must now buy into the club philosophy of football, which he describe as ‘a front-foot, aggressive, hard-working, forward-thinking team’.
The Staffordshire-born 47-year-old spoke to current players, club legends and greats of the wider game about what the ethos of Aston Villa should be.
said it had taken 18 months of solid effort by himself, manager Steve Bruce and the entire coaching team right down to academy level to turn around Villa’s fortunes.
“We established really what we felt we needed to get back to – the core values – on top of what I expect from a training ground through the best practice I have witnessed myself over the years,” he said, in a wide-ranging interview with the club’s official website.
“We want Aston Villa players who will play for the shirt. I know that’s easy to say. But it’s got to mean something. That claret and blue shirt has got to mean something to a player.”
“It’s about setting standards and having commitment and discipline – to the club, to the job, to each other.
“It’s having a culture of belief and togetherness - and a really strong commitment to a work ethic which will drive the club forward.
“I only want people here at Aston Villa who will sign up to that. If you’re not prepared to sign up to that and you’re not prepared to put in that work to be part of a team and also have the expertise to take us to the next level,... you won’t be working here.”
He continued: “They have to play with pride for the club, themselves and each other. They have to have full commitment and in the modern game they have to be physically excellent.”
Round also hailed the impact of Xia in changing the “culture of failure” which had taken hold at Villa Park.
“The initial thing was the feeling that it was a club that had quite a strong legacy of failure associated with it,” said Round.
“It had a period of time over a number of years where it was failure after failure culminating in relegation.
“One of the fortunate things after that relegation season was that the club changed ownership. We had a new, vibrant chairman who was full of commitment to the club.
“He had the foresight to put in place an outstanding chief executive in Keith Wyness who has been a massive support to me - but not just me, the whole club.
“Dr Tony wanted to turn things around very quickly and I was delighted to be given the job.
“The first task was obviously setting about turning around that legacy of failure – that negative culture that had been established at the training ground.
“That’s not been easy, it’s been difficult quite frankly. There’s been a huge change around in management staff, performance staff and playing staff."