O’Neill insists Carew will not leave Aston Villa

The Norwegian striker has been linked with a £5million move to Turkish side Fenerbahce recently.

“I’ve no idea about that (move to Fenerbahce) at all,” he said. “Absolutely not – but it’s that time of year again coming up. There’s nothing in it.

“I haven’t spoken to John or his agent about it. He’s played in Turkey before and I’m sure that won’t be the only link to one of our players this season. I’ve not even bothered to chase it up.

“We’re at a really important stage and John is very important to us. I would be pretty loath to be losing players.

“John has been an integral part of the side, he’s done very well and I want a bit of genuine competition for places, which I think I have at the moment – maybe not everywhere but in a number of areas.”