Express & Star

England man tight-lipped on Aston Villa links

Villa target Conor Gallagher is putting his own future to one side to focus on England’s Euro 2024 campaign.


The 24-year-old made 50 appearances last season for Chelsea, captaining the side under Mauricio Pochettino – who left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent in May.

But his future his uncertain in west London, with Tottenham, West Ham and Villa all keen on the former Albion loanee.

Villa have reportedly opened talks with Chelsea bosses over a £50million deal, but Gallagher only has eyes for England while in Germany for the Euros.

“I’m a Chelsea player right now and like I said I am just focused on England and the tournament,” he said. “I have just been focusing on England, this is the most important thing right now for me, for the country and I just want to start the tournament now.

“It is not difficult, I’m in a very privileged position to play for England and be at a tournament like this and I couldn’t be happier with the situation.”

While it proved a tumultuous campaign for Chelsea as a whole, Gallagher arguably played some of the most consistent football of his career, sealing himself a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad in the process. Pochettino paid the price for Chelsea’s sixth-placed Premier League finish and has been replaced by Enzo Maresca.

And Gallagher admits he was disappointed to see the former Tottenham manager depart.

“Of course he has done so much for me so I was sad,” the midfielder said. “Sad for him and coaching staff but really excited about the new manager coming in and myself and everyone at Chelsea is really excited to work with him.

“I think I have come a long way this season, I give a lot of credit to Pochettino and what he has done for me, gave me responsibility and trust at Chelsea. That puts me in a better position to be a bigger part of the squad at this tournament and I’ll do as much as I can to help England in the tournament.

“He just showed his belief and trust in me which is all a player wants to be honest. If a manager shows you a bit of love, it makes you play better.

“Long story short, it gives you confidence and that’s what it gave me so I just build on that.

“A lot of credit to Pochettino for giving me that opportunity to show Chelsea what I could do in the last season, hopefully there is still room for improvement.”

Despite impressing, Chelsea would be open to selling Gallagher as they bid to ease concerns over meeting Premier League’s financial rules. A £50m sale would be considered pure profit in the Chelsea books, making his departure an attractive proposition.