Dunne facing Villa axe after training ground bust-up
Published 23:00 12/12/10 By James Nursey
Gerard Houllier has given his Aston Villa squad two days off to clear their heads after Richard Dunne’s stormy training ground bust-up.
The Irish defender, 31, was dropped and stripped of the captaincy for Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Brom at Villa Park.
And his clash last week with coach Gary McAllister during an eight-a-side practice match has exposed simmering tensions towards Villa’s new boss.
Houllier has been working his players extremely hard at their Bodymoor Heath HQ after taking over in September.
The squad’s usual days off were scrapped as he introduced a tough new regime under French fitness coach Robert Duverne.
Villa’s players have also been grumbling about several of Houllier’s other methods.
Mobile phones are now banned at the training ground and the squad have even been asked to reduce non-football related chat at practice.
Houllier is also looking into where players live amid concerns many of his squad are travelling too far to play and train.
Stars such as Stephen Warnock still reside in the north-west near Liverpool while Ashley Young has moved back to Hertfordshire.
But it is Dunne’s behaviour and form which are Houllier’s biggest concern.
The defender clashed with McAllister last week during an eight-a-side game, resulting in the Irishman launching a massive tirade against Houllier’s regime.
Villa are unlikely to be able to ship out Dunne in January as he has two-and-a-half years remaining on a £52,000-a-week salary.
Houllier is considering leaving Young as captain in Stiliyan Petrov’s absence after he was skipper against West Brom.