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The Big Interview Pt.2: Dunne on Richards, Friedel and his 5-a-Side team

Garde on reports: I have a close relationship with my team Match preview: Man City v Villa
The Big Interview Pt.2: Dunne on Richards, Friedel and his 5-a-Side team

Here's Pt.2 of The Big Interview with former Villa and Man City defender Richard Dunne.

Dunne played for Villa between September 2009 and May 2013, after a nine-year spell with the men from the Etihad Stadium.

We've split the fan Q&A into two parts - check out Pt.2 below.


Q] You played with Micah Richards at Man City - how highly do you rate him?

A] I love Micah.

He's been unfortunate with injuries when you look at his career as a whole.

As a player, he was outstanding when I played with him at City.

At that point, he was the regular right-back for England.

He was getting better and better but then he had a period where he didn't play much at Man City.

He's a very good player for Villa - and I believe he's one that can be part of the future of the club to put it back where it belongs.

If it's relegation this season - and the players will be fighting to make sure it isn't - I am hoping that it's the following season that promotion is achieved and I think Micah can be a big part of that journey.

People talk about positions with Micah - I played with him as centre-half and right-back. He's good in both positions.

You could always rely on him. He had so much energy so he could get up and down the wing from right-back.

Ultimately it's where the manager sees him for each individual game.

I actually think he's a better centre-half.

Q] Who was the hardest opponent in training?

A] I'd go for two - Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor.

They were just so skillful, full of tricks and flicks.

They had good communication between each other at Bodymoor Heath and it was a nightmare to defend against them.

If they were on the same team, it was always a difficult morning.

They loved a nutmeg and there were times when I wanted to kick lumps out of them - but even then they were too quick to get near them!

Q] Best keeper to play with - Brad Friedel or Shay Given?

A] The first season I had with Villa, Brad Friedel was absolutely amazing. He was truly outstanding.

He made the easy things look easy and then the shots or headers that looked impossible to stop, he saved them.

He was on top-class form. He gave the lads in front of him so much confidence.

Shay Given was superb to play alongside too - I played with him a lot with Ireland, of course.

We didn't have the best of times when we were both together at Villa but that doesn't stop him being superb.

But when at Villa, I'd say that one season with Brad was brilliant.

Q] Tell us one funny dressing room story?

A] They're not repeatable!

Most of them involved Gabby, Ashley and Stiliyan though.

We had some real jokers - a real together squad - who could take it and give it.


Q] Pick your Villa 5-a-Side team?

A] Let's go for Brad Friedel, James Collins, Stan Petrov, Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor.

Brad was a very good keeper - totally unflappable.

James was no-nonsense and put his body on the line every time.

Stan was a great leader, great midfielder, great organiser and great guy to have around.

Ashley was outstanding, one of the best players in the league.

Gabby had pace and power. Not many people could stop him.

Q] How good was Villa Park to play at - and how good were the fans?

A] The fans were brilliant, truly brilliant.

Just look at that League Cup semi-final match in 2010 - the game was getting away from us at one point.

But the fans brought us back into the game with their noise. They willed us to do well.

You always wanted to do well but then the supporters always gave you that little bit extra to win games and get results that didn't look possible on the day.

Q] Collins and Dunne - how good was that partnership and did you get on with Ginge off the pitch?

A] It went really well for us.

We actually arrived at Bodymoor Heath to sign on the same day.

We didn't know each other but we clicked straightaway really.

We were a similar player and similar personality.

We loved training. We loved tackling. We loved defending.


Q] How difficult was it to leave Villa - your final season sounded painful from a personal perspective?

A] It was truly terrible - an awful season. I couldn't get it right.

I wasn't feeling great in a pre-season friendly in America.

I had an operation and every time I went to see someone, they said 'six weeks and you'll be fine' and I never was.

It ended up as the end of March when I got back training.

I was hoping to get back for the League Cup semi-final against Bradford City.

The day before, I tore my groin. It was a nightmare - it was so tough because I was 31 or 32 at the time - so I wasn't getting any younger.

But I suppose it's part and parcel of football and in all reality, I didn't have that many injuries.

It's just a shame I got them all in that one period.

By @AVFCOfficial 4th March 2016
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