Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has told Emile Heskey not to get "overly concerned" about retaining his place in the England squad following rumours the striker is considering quitting Villa Park to find regular first team football.
With the 2010 World Cup looming, Heskey admitted his lack of starts for Villa since his £3.5 million move from Wigan Athletic in January was giving him cause for concern. England manager Fabio Capello has so far stuck with the 31-year-old, despite his lack of club football, but that is unlikely to continue.
Asked what he thought about Heskey's comments about possibly seeking a new club O'Neill said: "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."