O'Neill to consider Heskey transfer claims

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The Independent Football

Martin O'Neill admits he will "sit down and have a think" about Emile Heskey's claims he may have to quit Aston Villa to keep his World Cup hopes alive before making any public comment.

Heskey admitted his lack of starts for Villa since his £3.5million move from Wigan in January was giving him cause for concern after Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Ukraine.

O'Neill has preferred to start with Gabriel Agbonlahor as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation.

And he has told Heskey not to get "overly concerned" at this juncture about the finals in South Africa next summer..

O'Neill said: "You can ask me as much as you want about it, but I won't have anything to say at this moment (about Heskey's comments).

"I've been away from my desk for a couple of days, so I will genuinely have to sit down and have a think about it before I make any comment on that.

"But players need to remember themselves here. The World Cup is not next week, not before Christmas and not even before Easter. It's a long, long way away.

"The side picked, if the World Cup was just round the corner, might be a lot different to the one picked for next summer. There could be five changes or more with things like injuries or loss of form."

O'Neill added: "There's players at this football club with proper ambitions to be in the England reckoning next summer - and so they should - like Ashley Young, James Milner, Stewart Downing, Gabby Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey.

"But I wouldn't get overly concerned about all that just yet if I were them."

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