Gary McAllister admits the lure of Champions League football may make it difficult for Aston Villa to keep hold of Ashley Young after this season.
Caretaker manager McAllister refuses to accept it is inevitable Young, who has only year left of his contract, will move from Villa Park. But he knows what it means to play on the biggest club stage after tasting it with Liverpool at the tail-end of his distinguished career.
McAllister, who continues to deputise while manager Gerard Houllier recovers from his heart problems, said: "I don't think it's inevitable Ashley will go. We will do everything we can to keep him here. He has become an England player playing for Aston Villa."
He added: "The partnership of him and Darren Bent has looked exciting for Fabio Capello, for sure.
"The grass is also not always greener somewhere else but we are not silly. We have to be realistic. All players have ambition to play in the Champions League.
"We can't give them that. It's a goal but we all know how difficult it is to get up there.
"You can always understand the lure of playing in that competition. I managed to get a touch of it as a balding old man (with Liverpool) and it is a great experience."
McAllister knows Young will have to come to terms with being more under the microscope if he joins one of the top four clubs compared to at Villa.
He said: "It's difficult because you know how high the expectation levels are here. But when you go to these other clubs - I'm talking about the top four or five where the pressure is on - then the microscope becomes even greater.
"The criticism becomes greater because each and every little move is under scrutiny. Some people can't deal with it."
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