Aston Villa skipper Gareth Barry admits he almost quit the club and joined Portsmouth this summer.
Barry said in The Times: “The prospect of joining Portsmouth was very tempting.
“It was the closest I’ve come to leaving this club because they made a couple of sizeable bids and if I’d intimated I wanted to leave, I think it would have happened.
“We had a quick chat pre-season and he (Martin O’Neill) told me he would be changing things.
“He said it wouldn’t happen overnight but it might be an idea, even if I just took until Christmas, to have a look at how it was going.
“He also said he thought he could improve my game and push the club on.
“After being here for nine years, would I miss an opportunity?”