Gary O’Neil contract talks can wait for Norwich City boss Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil insists Gary O'Neil's role in Norwich City's Premier League survival bid will not be over-looked ahead of summer contract talks.
The experienced midfielder's current deal expires at the end of the season, and O'Neil was linked with a move to relegation-certainties Aston Villa last week.
'I have not had any discussions with Gary about his contract but he has played a large part in how well we have done since he came into the team and that is not lost on me whatsoever,' said Neil. 'Gary knows my feelings on things but we have business to take care of first and we can then sit down and discuss things once that hopefully has happened.
'I trust him, he has been our captain, the one thing is he demands the most from himself and the lads around him and his experience is crucial at this time.'
O'Neil's leadership qualities have been vital in Norwich's upturn.
'You can't have enough of them, I don't think you can have enough of those type of players,' said his manager. 'I did have a couple of that type in the changing room, like Gary, but we added to that in January with lads like Timm Klose and Steven Naismith, I think topping that up always help. What you tend to find is with characters like that they hate losing and want to go and prove how good they are.'
The former Portsmouth and West Ham stalwart has publicly hailed Norwich's togetherness in recent weeks as a major strength in their survival scrap but Neil is urging the Canaries for one final push.
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'We have worked hard and feel we deserve to stay up but the reality is you don't always get what you deserve,' he said. 'I think in essence he is right to say that but we are duty bound to go out and take it. You get nothing handed to you in this league, you have to grab it.'