Sunday 25 September 2016

Title-chasing Albrighton reveals sympathy for friends at relegated Villa

Published 16/04/2016 | 13:06

Former Aston Villa man Marc Albrighton will be playing Champions League football with Leicester next season
Former Aston Villa man Marc Albrighton will be playing Champions League football with Leicester next season

Leicester winger Marc Albrighton feels for his old friends at Aston Villa, but is relishing the new lease of life he has enjoyed since moving to the King Power Stadium.

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Albrighton, who was released by Villa in May 2014 after 16 years with the club and joined the Foxes that summer, will be playing Champions League football next season - rather than plying his trade in the Championship.

The Birmingham side were relegated from the Barclays Premier League on Saturday after a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, while Leicester can go 10 points clear at the top of the table if they beat West Ham on Sunday.

Albrighton appreciates his "shock" exit almost two years ago was clearly for the best, but has sympathy for his mates at Villa Park, with many non-playing members of staff set to lose their jobs

"It was a shock (to leave)," he said. "I was led to believe I was getting a contract there.

"I don't know whose decision it was - manager, chairman or the chief executive. At the time they must have thought they could have got something better.

"It's worked out for me. I've come here and got a new lease of life. It's been the best thing, to leave, as I was getting a bit complacent. I'd been there 16 years and it gets to a point where you have to go your separate ways.

"The offer was on the table here, and as soon as I found out the contract wasn't there at Villa this was the club I wanted to be at. It's taken me on a bit of a journey.

"I have friends involved in what's going on at Villa and it's horrible to see. I feel for them and hopefully can bounce straight back up and get back to where they should be."

While Villa were condemned to the drop on Saturday, the Foxes avoided a similar fate in stunning fashion last year.

They started their great escape with a 2-1 win over West Ham last April, winning seven of their last nine games to survive.

Claudio Ranieri's side now need just three wins from their last five matches to clinch an amazing title triumph, and Albrighton has his sights firmly set on glory.

"We want to achieve the best prize. Anything we do now is special," the 26-year-old said.

"It's been pretty crazy. Something just clicked last season and we performed a miracle to stay up. To be where we are now is incredible.

"I believe we have already made history with what we've achieved. It's incredible to think people were writing us off and thinking we'll go down."

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