Aston Villa boss happy with Downing

Villa have so far rejected bids of £12million and £15million from Liverpool for the England international.

McLeish 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.”

Aston Villa are looking for around £19-20million for the highly-rated winger.