Downing unsure over Villa future
England winger Stewart Downing admits he is "not sure" if he will still be an Aston Villa player next season as he revealed his desire to play Champions League football.
Downing has been in some of the best form of his career during the past campaign when he won Villa's player of the year award and regained his place in the England squad.
But talks over a new contract have been put on ice after just one meeting between Downing's representative and the club at a time when the 26-year-old is being linked with a move to Liverpool. Downing said: "If you ask any player about interest from clubs, they get flattered by it but I think you've just got to keep your mind on the job and keep playing well for your club and country."
He added: "All players want to play at the highest level and in the biggest competitions. With England as well, all the top players play in good teams. I'm no different. You just want the best for your career. You want to finish with medals at the end of it so, if it's a step up with Villa or with someone else, then I'm ready for it.
"You watch teams in the Champions League and it makes you wish you were there. You sit at home and watch it, hear the music come on, you see the teams and you think 'that's where you want to be.'
"It's the pinnacle. It's the best. It's the best standard with the best players. It would be nice to taste that one day."
Downing has two years remaining of his current contract but he has reiterated his stance of not wanting to commit to longer at this juncture.
He said: "My agent had a meeting with the club - just one meeting - and he just felt it was the right time not to sign my contract. I've still got two years to go, so I've still got a long time to go, so I just decided to leave it as it is.
"Will I be at Villa next season? I'm not sure. I mean, we had the meeting with the club, we expressed our feelings and they said to me they're going to improve the team and the squad.
"So, as far as I know, I'll still be reporting back for pre-season because I've heard nothing."