Birkir Bjarnason: I thought my Aston Villa career was finished
Midfielder Birkir Bjarnason has expressed delight at being back in boss Steve Bruce’s plans – just weeks after fearing his Villa career was finished.
The Iceland international impressed after being handed his first Championship start since September in Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Barnsley.
Bjarnason, who joined Villa in a £2million move from Basle last January, has mainly had to make do with appearances off the bench during an often difficult first year in English football.
In an interview with Icelandic publication Morgunbladid, the 29-year-old admitted his agent had held discussions with several other clubs as he eyed a potential move away this month.
But having now played a part in Villa’s last five games, he is determined to stay and play a part in the club’s battle for promotion to the Premier League.
"Only two to three weeks ago, I was certain that I would leave the club,” said Bjarnason. “I really wanted to leave, but now I have completely changed my mind. I am not going anywhere!
"I have taken part in our last four league matches. Before that I had not played for a long time. Now everything looks great. It has been going really well, both for me and the team, and I am really optimistic."
Bjarnason had not featured since mid-November before coming off the bench in Villa’s 1-0 win at Middlesbrough on December 30.
His most significant contributions have come in the past two games, with Bjarnason impressing in a deep-lying midfield role after replacing the injured Glenn Whelan during a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forsest. That performance was enough to see him keep his place for the Barnsley game.
Bjarnason had been linked with Italian clubs Parma and SPAL earlier in the month.
And he added: "I know that my agent had already spoken to some clubs to prepare a possible departure.
“But for me, Aston Villa is the best choice. This is a huge club in England, and it is especially great to be here when the team is doing so well, as it has done for the last few weeks.
“Hopefully we can reach the Premier League. That would be great.”