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Downing in dark on Houllier future

Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing is in the dark over the future of boss Gerard Houllier, with reports claiming he is poised to leave the club.

Houllier endured a turbulent first season at Villa Park after taking over from Martin O’Neill, with the undoubted low point the heart scare he suffered on April 20.

The club was left in the hands of assistant coach Gary McAllister while Houllier recovered, and the Scot successfully steered them to ninth in the English Premier League with seven points from a possible nine in their last three matches.

While it is widely expected Houllier, 63, will not return to top-flight management, Downing – currently preparing for England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland – insists he does not know the Frenchman’s plans.

“We’ve seen the rumours going about, but we’ve not been told anything,” Downing said.

“As far as we are concerned, we got told at the end of the season he would be coming back and that he’s fit and well.”

“I think we just have to leave that in the club’s hands with (chairman) Randy Lerner and (chief executive) Paul Faulkner because I’m sure they will come out with the best outcome for the club.”

The midfielder said he would like Houllier to remain with the West Midlands club, insisting he has a great working relationship with the Frenchman.

“Obviously he came in at a difficult time, and he did quite well with the team,” Downing said.

“He’s been good for me personally and I’ve enjoyed working with him. And like I say, if he stays, brilliant. But if he goes, then I wish him all the best. He’s been nothing but good to me.”

Tue 31 May, 2011
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