English Premiership

Petrov returns to Villa training

Stiliyan Petrov (File)
Stiliyan Petrov (File)

Birmingham - Over three years since his retirement from football, Stiliyan Petrov will train with Aston Villa ahead of next season, the club confirmed on Thursday.

The 36-year-old, who is in remission after a battle with acute leukaemia, announced in April that he was hoping to make a comeback.

New manager Robert Di Matteo has agreed for Petrov to join up with the squad for their pre-season camp in Austria.

The Bulgarian midfielder has not played professionally since March 2012, when he made the last of his 185 Premier League appearances for Villa.

"Aston Villa football club is pleased to confirm Stiliyan Petrov will take part in pre-season training at first-team level," the club said in a statement.

"Manager Roberto Di Matteo has revealed the former club captain will travel with the group to Austria as he joins the squad at their training camp.

"Stan will report next week with the rest of the group."

Petrov had been training with the club's Under-21 side with a view to returning to first-team action.

The news is a boost for Di Matteo, who took over at Villa Park after the West Midlands side were relegated from the Premier League for the first time at the end of last season.

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