Friday media watch [14.02.14 PM]: Albrighton/Guzan in focus
Clubcall: Marc Albrighton has confirmed that he would like to extend his stay at Aston Villa beyond the end of this current season. The 24-year-old winger, who worked his way through the Villa Park academy and into the first team, missed a large chunk of last term because of foot and thigh injuries and also underwent an operation on his throat which saw him slip down boss Paul Lambert's pecking order. Albrighton then looked set to be on his way out of club when he was allowed to join Championship side Wigan on loan earlier in the season. But he has since returned to the club and has put in some good displays, including a man-of-the-match performance in a 38-minute run-out against West Ham at the weekend. That seemed to be enough to get Lambert into action with regards to holding contract talks and Albrighton has revealed that he is hopeful of staying put.
Express & Star: Marc Albrighton today played it cool over his future but insisted he wants to stay at Villa. The winger is out of contract at the end of the season and boss Paul Lambert has revealed he will hold talks with him. Villa youth product Albrighton was man of the match in Saturday's 2-0 defeat to West Ham - despite playing just 34 minutes - prompting Lambert to confirm contract discussions.
Sky Sports: Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has dismissed the prospect of standing areas returning to the top flight. Bristol City became the first English side to install a 'safe-standing' section this week and a number of clubs have expressed an interest. Aston Villa were one of those to openly admit they would happily trial the idea, and they had even suggested up to half the Premier League were keen. However, Scudamore disagrees and does not see standing coming back to the top flight.
Clubcall: Brad Guzan has revealed that he wants to follow in the footsteps of legendary long-serving goalkeeper Nigel Spink at Aston Villa. The American shot-stopper is now firmly the number one custodian at Villa Park under the leadership of boss Paul Lambert and he has put in some excellent performances for the team since usurping Shay Given as first-choice from the start of the 2012-13 season. Guzan is enjoying his time at Villa and after meeting Spink at Bodymoor Heath earlier this month, he expressed a desire to emulate the man who made 460 appearances for Villa - more than any other goalkeeper in the club's history.
Sky Sports: Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has confirmed that there are plans for a 'B' league to come into existence. The new league would replace the current U21 league format, and would be for U23 players with four over age players allowed. The league would involve the same teams that are in the U21 league - which is those who are classed as category one in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). That would mean that current Premier League sides Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland, Tottenham, West Brom and West Ham would be involved along with Football League clubs Bolton, Blackburn, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Reading and Wolves.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas says he was "flattered" by Manchester United's interest last summer. The 26-year-old was the subject of two close-season bids from Old Trafford but chose to stay at the Nou Camp.
Sky Sports: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has declared the Premier League title is 'Chelsea's to lose'. Blues boss Jose Mourinho has repeatedly downplayed his side's chances of winning the league, despite being top of the table.
BBC Sport: England manager Roy Hodgson has a nasty side to him, according to his assistant Ray Lewington. Members of the national team have often spoken about how much they enjoy working under the 66-year-old coach. However, if they fall out of line, Lewington says Hodgson's players are never spared a dressing down.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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