Aston Villa sign Hoops star Stevens

Confirmation from Aston Villa today that they have reached agreements with Shamrock Rovers for the transfer of Enda Stevens to Villa in January 2012.

The 21-year-old Ireland U21 international defender will remain a Shamrock Rovers player until then , which will see him stay with the Hoops for the rest of the season and for the club’s Europa League Group stages campaign.

The Clubs have agreed to complete the deal in January.

“This is massive for me. It’s a dream come true,” Stevens said. “I never expected it to come as soon as it has, especially after the last few games in Europe.

“I grew up following and watching the Premier League and I can dream of playing in it now.

“Villa have had some great Irish players and been very good for Irish players. I’m a player who likes to get forward, can defend and I like to play football. I like to get the ball down and play.

“Obviously, my main focus is the league game on Saturday against Dundalk. I am going to train and prepare as I always do in order to be ready for that.

“I signed for Shamrock Rovers and won the league in my first season. I’ve been fortunate enough to play against Juventus in the Europa League. We have qualified for the Europa League group stages and hopefully we will go on and win the league at the end of this season.

“It was great winning the title on the final day in my first season. That was a big experience, one of the best experiences. Once you’ve done that you want to go bigger and bigger again and, hopefully, that will happen.

“We start the first game soon against AEK in Athens. That should be good because they’re a massive team. We obviously have Spurs, too, so we will play at White Hart Lane, too. That will give me an impression of the Premier League, where I stand and how far away I am from the

“The manager will be able to come and see me against top-class sides and players across the continent, not just England. It’s all coming into place. I look forward to it.

“I haven’t had much sleep over the past couple of days since I found out this move could be happening. Let’s hope everything calms down for me now.

“My aim is to do well for Shamrock Rovers for the remainder of this season, then to come to Villa in January, build a relationship with the lads in the team and settle in quickly and, hopefully, stay here for the rest of my career.”

Villa Manager, Alex McLeish said: “Shamrock Rovers have already won Ireland’s first domestic trophy, remain favourites to retain their Premier League Championship, are still in their FA Cup and have achieved something no Irish team has ever done before by qualifying for the Group Stages of the Europa League.

“Enda’s performances, particularly in Europe, really caught our attention and we are pleased that we have been able to agree with Shamrock Rovers terms that will bring him to Villa in the New Year. He’s an exciting prospect.”

Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O’Neill said: “This is another mark of how this club is progressing and how well-regarded our players are outside of Ireland. Enda deserves great credit for how he has improved his game and placed himself in a position that one of England’s
biggest clubs wanted to recruit him.

“I believe he will do very well, but the great news for us is that he will remain a Shamrock Rovers player until the end of this season.

“We have a great squad of players and have a lot of hard work between now and the end of the season. Enda being part of that is important for him and the club.”

At Villa he will be well ‘looked after’ by the strong Irish contingent which includes Shay Given, Richard Dunne and Ciaran Clark.


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