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By ESPN Staff

Heskey assured of Villa role

Alex McLeish insists veteran striker Emile Heskey still has a major role to play at Aston Villa and that it would be "crazy'' not to make use of his vast experience.

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Heskey had only a bit-part role to play during the second half of last season following the arrival of club-record signing Darren Bent in January.

The 33-year-old was linked with a move to his first club, Leicester, during the summer but McLeish is happy to retain the services of the former England player, who is in the final year of his current contract.

McLeish said: "Emile's experience is phenomenal. He has enormous experience.

"He has played for England, he has played for several top managers over the years so he has learnt a lot.

"Discarding his kind of knowledge and his skills would be crazy. I have to tap into a guy like that. I have to use him to the full.

"There is no guarantee that Emile will play every week - but he has certainly impressed me.''

Heskey regained his spot initially after Gerard Houllier's arrival as manager last season but Bent's £18 million capture saw him revert to being a back-up player.

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