Shaun Maloney struck in the 73rd minute of Aston Villa’s match against Sunderland to ensure his team left with a share of the spoils. The Scottish forward has been with the Midlands club since January and, despite rumours linking him with a move away from Villa Park, he told the official site that he’s staying put to fight for his place.
“I am enjoying training a lot more than I did last season but I would like to play a bit more,” he said. ”Obviously you want to play as much as you can and get in the starting 11. I want to play a lot more but to be honest there are other players on the bench who want to play as well.
“Fingers crossed, a goal like that will help my cause. I haven’t seen the manager about my future, I am just training away.”
So will Maloney still be at Villa in February? “Yeah I can’t see any reason why not if the manager still wants me. I would imagine so.”
Saturday’s goal was Maloney’s first in the league since he struck a last-minute winner against Fulham in August. It looks to be a direct competition between him and Craig Gardner for a place in the Villa team at the moment, with Gareth Barry, Ashley Young and Nigel Reo-Coker the other preferred midfielders.