Mathieu Berson has launched a broadside against Aston Villa by saying that his solitary season at Villa Park was a 'bad experience.'
The French midfielder was snapped up by David O'Leary, the Villa manager, in August 2004 for a fee of £1.7 million from Nantes but made only seven Premiership starts and was a peripheral figure in Villa's engine room.
The 25-year-old was sent to Auxerre on a season-long loan this summer and accused O'Leary of damaging his chances of playing for France and wasting a year of his career.
"My spell at Aston Villa has been of no benefit to me at all," an annoyed Berson said. "I was miscast there. Villa's management told me beforehand what my role would be but once I joined them I found little evidence of what they'd promised.
"That is my main regret. My bad experience with Villa certainly hasn't helped my chances of making the French national team.
"They require a very high standard but who's to say I would not have reached it had I stayed put in France?
"Right now I have no regrets at all at having chosen to join Auxerre. I hope to improve my form throughout the season, and make them happy with me.
"I had a difficult start, as I needed to get my bearings back on the pitch.
"I am still lacking my rhythm. I had a year at Villa when I hardly played at all - and you can't simply erase that from your memory.
"I had approaches from plenty of clubs but most of them were outside France - and I had just emerged from a difficult season.
"It is not easy to play abroad, learn a new language and culture, and end up in unfamiliar surroundings.
"I really wanted to find an interesting challenge in France and once Auxerre came in for me I did not hesitate to join them." O'Leary responded to Berson's comments by claiming that his loan move to Auxerre was the best for all parties.
He said that Berson had requested to move back to his native country after a torrid campaign last term.
"Mathieu made it clear to me that he was finding it difficult to adapt to life in England and the pace of the Premiership," O'Leary said.
"He told me that he wanted to return to France and play football again.
"Considering what he told me, it was best for all concerned that he was given the opportunity to do that.
"No one is more disappointed than me that that had to happen."
Technically, Berson is set to return to Villa Park in the summer, as he still has two
and a half years of his contract left to run.
However, judging by both his and O'Leary's comments, it would appear that Berson's future in the Second City is bleak.
The emergence of Steven Davis and the loan signing of Eirik Bakke have ensured that Berson has fallen well down the pecking order and is unlikely to feature in Villa's first team again.
Meanwhile, Patrik Berger is set to become the fifth Villa player this season to undergo knee surgery.
The operation is set to leave him sidelined for a number of weeks.
The Czech Republic international midfield player suffered cartilage damage during Monday's defeat at Manchestr City.