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Alex McLeish demands right attitude from Liverpool target Stewart Downing

Alex McLeish expects Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing to maintain the right attitude and professionalism if his hopes of a move to Liverpool fail to materialise.

Villa have rejected bids of £12 million and £15 million from the Reds for Downing and McLeish wants the England international to remain at the midlands club.

McLeish says he overcame failing to secure a move to Manchester United as a player and would expect the same response from Downing if he is still at Villa next season.

He said: "I've spoken to Stewart, I've told him I don't want to sell him.

"There's an obvious distraction there for him but he's been a credit to himself and applied himself in the right way and worked his socks off in training. I don't see a problem professionally.

"Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign me for Manchester United when I was at Aberdeen and that wasn't possible in the end.

"That was a big disappointment but I got my head down and worked and I don't doubt Stewart has the character to get through this is he stays at the club.

"It's part of your growing up as a footballer."

Villa will demand £19 to £20 million if it becomes apparent they cannot retain Downing who has two years remaining of his current contract.

McLeish is optimistic of signing a new keeper to replace Brad Friedel in the near future with Shay Given expected to complete a £3.5 million move from Manchester City.

He said: "We certainly need a keeper and we are making progress. We would like it to happen a bit quicker but we are moving forward."