Ellis blast for Hitz

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Aston Villa supremo Doug Ellis thinks Thomas Hitzlsperger would be 'foolish' to leave the club this summer.

The German international is out of contract in the summer and is widely expected to leave Villa Park on a Bosman transfer.

A return to his homeland seems to be the most favourable option for the 22-year-old, with a host of Bundesliga sides gearing up offers - although a number of clubs in England are also thought to be monitoring his progress.

Hitzlsperger has so far rejected the chance to renew his contract as he is not happy with what is on offer.

"He's a nice boy, a good lad," said Ellis.

"I've supported Thomas very much because I've seen him work terribly hard.

"When other players have rushed off at 1pm or 1.30pm, he is still there training on his own. I've seen all that.

"We have given him an excellent offer considering what he is on now and what he would be getting, although I don't talk figures.

"He's 22 and we want him and he's had a very good offer. He'd be very foolish if he didn't sign this contract.

"I would be very sad if he decided to go elsewhere. He shouldn't need to. I know he is settled here and that his girlfriend is at university here."

Ellis also revealed that Villa would be taking up a 12-month option on Mark Delaney, meaning they had no need to open fresh talks with him.

Delaney has revealed his annoyance at no new deal. His current contract expires in 2006, although Villa have an option on him which they plan to take.

"It's no problem. Mark has two years and four months left at the moment and that's plenty of time," continued.

"The manager must hold the decision on players. But I would suggest he would not decide on another year on Mark when he has one and-a-half years left. The one-year option will be taken up. Why not?

"Mark's agent wanted to see me and was upset that I wouldn't see him. I told him to see the manager."