McLeish issues Jenas challenge
Alex McLeish has challenged on-loan Villa man Jermaine Jenas to show the club he is worth trying to sign on a permanent deal.
Last Updated: 04/11/11 11:00pm
Alex McLeish has challenged on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Jermaine Jenas to show the club he is worth trying to sign on a permanent deal.
Jenas made a season-long switch from Tottenham in August and is finally fit after recovering from thigh and Achilles injuries ahead of Saturday's home game with Norwich.
McLeish believes Jenas should now be approaching his peak as a player and will be "a guy on a mission" after falling out of favour at White Hart Lane.
The Villa boss said: "Jermaine should be coming into his peak years and I'm sure the motivation for him will be to show people what he is capable of and what they have missed.
"He has got great incentives to play for the next five or six years and don't let them go by in a flash and think 'where has my career gone?'
"I feel he will be a guy on a mission. He will be very welcome back in the fold because of that added experience and quality.
"He knows the game, he is an England international and I am sure he will show Villa fans as soon as he gets into action just what he is capable of."
When asked about the prospect of Jenas coming to the club on a permanent basis, McLeish said: "It all boils down to what he can give us on the field.
"We know the potential is there, we know the history of the guy and how well he can play.
"If he comes in and transforms the team then, of course, we are going to be interested."
McLeish admits Villa still have to reduce their wage bill - a factor made clear to him by club owner Randy Lerner when he replaced Gerard Houllier in June - but he rubbished internet reports that Villa have to sell striker Darren Bent.
McLeish said: "The position hasn't changed since I spoke to Mr Lerner in the summer. We are still trying to keep the budgets in control.
"The wages are still astronomical and we have to work together at the club to try and get them to where the chairman wants them."
The manager added: "The internet rumours [about Bent] are utter nonsense. It is utter rubbish. It is a phenomenon of the modern world - Twitter and Facebook - and it is not my world.
"Am I under pressure to sell a big name? No. It is not ever been thought about, let alone discussed."