Kevin Phillips says Martin O'Neill regretted selling him at Aston Villa

The former England striker has been speaking to the Aston Villa website this week.

Back in 2005 Aston Villa paid £1 million to sign Kevin Phillips from Southampton. David O'Leary was the manager at Villa at the time and was pleased to get hold of a man he originally targeted as Leeds United boss.

His signature was a risk, considering his growing injury problems and now 30-plus age, but in the end it was one O'Leary felt was worth taking considering his talent.

Things started well for him. He scored on his debut against Bolton Wanderers and also set up a goal in that game. However, he soon started to struggle with injuries and could not get a game.

At the end of the season, with Martin O'Neill now in charge, Phillips was sold on to West Brom for £750,000.

Now, whilst speaking to the official Aston Villa website, Phillips has confirmed that he was told by a former team-mate that O'Neill regretted letting him go.

He claims that Gavin McCann, a former team-mate at Sunderland and Villa, informed him of O'Neill's regrets some time later:

"I knew I had plenty of goals in me if I could keep myself fit. But when you get over 30 and get injuries, it takes you longer to come back and get your match fitness. It did hinder me a lot.

"But I should have maybe held on for that second year. Martin made it pretty clear to me that I wasn't in his plans. It left me with no option but to move on.

"But with hindsight looking back, Villa had a lot of injuries that season.

"I remember Gavin McCann telling me later that Martin had wished he'd never let me leave so quickly. They needed players at that point in time soon after I left."

In the end he went on to have a very successful stint at Midlands rivals West Brom and the move was probably for the best.

But who knows what he might have achieved if he had indeed stayed with Aston Villa.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch