Ashley Young focusing on England despite uncertainty over future
Tuesday 31 May 2011
Aston Villa forward Ashley Young has vowed to focus fully on England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland on Saturday despite uncertainty over his future and that of his club.
The Birmingham Mail today reported that Villa manager Gerard Houllier will stand down by "mutual consent" because of concerns over his health after heart problems, while highly-rated Young has been linked with a summer move away from Villa Park.
However, he said on Houllier: "To be honest, I've not heard anything out of the club, officially. I'm not too sure what's been going on.
"I'm away with England and that's what I'm concentrating on. We've got a massive game on Saturday and that's where my thoughts are."
Asked if he would like the Frenchman to say, he replied: "Of course. He's done great. It's been a difficult season, but fingers crossed things can get sorted and he'll get back to full health."
On his own future, he said: "I've said that I'll speak to the manager and the chairman at the end of the season.
"I've got to concentrate on this game and we'll see what happens when I talk to them."
England are joint top of Group G with 10 points from four games - the same as Montenegro, who entertain Bulgaria on Saturday night.
The Three Lions will not be expecting an easy ride at Wembley this weekend, though, despite having beaten Ottmar Hitzfeld's Swiss side 3-1 in Basle last September.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Young. "We had a tough game against them away. It's not going to be easy. We have to concentrate on ourselves. Every player is up for the challenge and wants to go clear at the top of the table."
Manager Fabio Capello has nine of his starting line-up from the most recent qualifying win - 2-0 in Wales in March - present for this weekend's game.
Wayne Rooney misses out through suspension but Young is confident the squad can cope without the Manchester United striker.
"Wazza's a great loss," said Young. "[But] we've got a lot of players in the squad to come in and play in his spot and the boys are raring to go and get the opportunity to get in the team.
"There are a lot of players fighting for positions. We always have a good week before the game, preparing in the right way."
Young's Villa team-mate Stewart Downing is also hoping Houllier stays.
He said: "We have seen the rumours going about but we haven't been told anything yet.
"We were told at the end of the season he was coming back.
"He came in at a difficult time and did quite well with the team. He has been good for me personally and if he stays then brilliant. If he goes I wish him all the best."
Asked whether the Frenchman's plans would determine Downing's future at Villa Park, the former Middlesbrough man was clear, adding: "I have enjoyed working with Martin O'Neill, Kevin McDonald, Gary McAllister and Gerard Houllier so it doesn't influence my decision at all if he stays or goes."
Downing is becoming an integral part of the England set-up, especially with coach Fabio Capello switching from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-3-3.
"I have enjoyed the last couple of games for England and I am looking to put a run together and stay in the squad," he said.
"As a player you have to adapt and I don't mind playing out wide or in the middle.
"I have done it at Villa and I am happy to play anywhere."
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