O'Leary relief as Solano quits Peru - 12/06/2005
David O'Leary believes Aston Villa will reap the benefit of Nolberto Solano's decision to retire from international football with Peru.
Solano was Villa's player of the year for 2004-2005 but O'Leary was forced to leave him out of his side on occasions because of the gruelling travelling to South America and back.
Now the former Newcastle player will be committed 100% to Villa's cause after opting to make himself unavailable for his country.
O'Leary said: 'There were times when we would go off on the coach to away matches on a Friday afternoon and Nobby would still be in mid-air flying back from a World Cup match in Peru or other parts of South America.
'He would be keen to play the next day but after travelling for goodness knows how many hours and the effects of being jet-lagged, you knew they he would be unable to start the game and at best would be a substitute. He just wouldn't be in a fit state to play however keen he was.
'You can't complain about this sort of thing because you know that is the agenda with South American players when you sign them. We also had Juan Pablo Angel (Colombia) and Ulisea de la Cruz (Ecuador) in a similar sort of position. You have to accept it.
'We left it to Nobby as to when he would retire from international football and I know he wanted to try and help Peru reach the World Cup finals.
'But the more games he is available for Villa, the better, as has been shown by his performances since we signed him from Newcastle, and the fans have taken to him big style.
'He has shown that he is a key player for us and, in terms of value for money (£1.5million), I would say that he is probably my best-ever signing although people like Gavin McCann and Thomas Sorensen at £2million each have also been excellent for us over the past couple of years.'
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