Alex McLeish expects professionalism from Liverpool target Stewart Downing if he stays at Aston Villa

The new manager has stated that he wants the England international to maintain the correct attitude if a move to Anfield does not materialise for him this summer
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish expects Stewart Downing to stay professional if he does not move to Liverpool this summer.

Villa have rejected a £12 million bid from the Reds, and a further £15m offer is also believed to have been turned down for the England international.

McLeish has previously experienced a similar situation in his career at Aberdeen, when Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him, but no deal materialised.

He told reporters: "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 are reportedly demanding £20m for the winger's services if Liverpool want him, but McLeish is confident they can keep hold of the player.

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