Former USA boss Bob Bradley responds to Aston Villa job links

The Stabaek manager has been reported as a possible candidate to take over at Villa Park since Tim Sherwood's sacking on the weekend.

While former US national team head coach Bob Bradley has been named by the likes of the Birmingham Mail as a potential candidate to fill the managerial vacancy at Aston Villa, it looks like those rumours are somewhat wide of the mark.

Speaking to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet on Monday, the now Stabaek boss stressed that, while he has fielded calls from “some clubs” as his two-year contract with the Tippeligaen side nears its end, no one from Villa has been in contact about succeeding Tim Sherwood.

"I think Aston Villa have many other options," said Bradley. "My name has been linked to many clubs in recent times, but I've only had direct contact with one club in the years I've been here. I'm not waiting to hear something concrete from [Villa].

"All I can say about this is that in recent weeks there have been some calls from clubs looking for managers,” he added. “But my focus is only on Stabæk. We have two games left, so we'll see what happens when the season is over."

Recent reports naming Bradley has a possible candidate for Villa would certainly not be the first time he has been linked with the Midlands outfit, having been considered one of the favourites to take over the club following Martin O’Neill’s sudden departure in August 2010 [h/t BBC].

The then USA boss was building an impressive résumé at the time, having led his side to the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup as group winners over England, the 2007 Gold Cup title and the 2009 Confederations Cup final with a 2-0 win over Spain – a result that ended the soon-to-be world champions’ 35-match unbeaten run, but he later ruled himself out of the running after agreeing to a contract extension with US Soccer.

The 57-year-old American was eventually sacked in the summer of 2011 following a 4-2 defeat to Mexico in their fourth straight Gold Cup final appearance but the work he has done since has arguably been an even greater indicator of his ability to manage in the Premier League.

Taking over Egypt in September 2011, the former MLS Cup-winning head coach somehow guided the team to the brink of World Cup qualification amid the unrest following the Arab Spring and he is now working miracles in the Norwegian top-flight.

Currently in his second season at Stabaek, the Princeton graduate defied all media predictions in his first full campaign in charge by leading the newly-promoted relegation favourites to a comfortable mid-table finish and this term has been even more outstanding.

Just three years removed from a financial crisis that very nearly led to their bankruptcy, the team were once again tipped for the drop in 2015 after a significant off-season rebuild but they instead sit in third place in the table with just two games left.

A 10-point gap between them and league leaders Rosenborg means their title hopes are over but, with fourth-placed Odd sitting two points behind, a Europa League spot is certainly in sight.

The cash-strapped club were even forced to sell 17-goal striker Adama Diomande to Hull City just before the transfer deadline in order to support one of the league’s lowest budgets and yet they still came within extra-time of making the Norwegian Cup final at Rosenborg’s expense last month.

All that would suggest that he could well be the right man for Villa but, unless the board are just being slow to react, his comments suggest that he will be heading elsewhere this winter.

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