Barry backs Heskey's Villa quit threat

FORMER Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry has risked reigniting the wrath of his old fans by backing Emile Heskey&rsquo;s threat to quit the Midlands side.<br /><br />Striker Heskey is considering asking for a January transfer unless he gets the Premier League minutes he needs to retain his place in the England team for next summer&rsquo;s World Cup. And Barry, who infuriated Villa supporters by accepting a big-money summer move to Manchester City, says he can see why his international colleague would want to leave. <br /><br />&ldquo;The World Cup is in the back of everyone&rsquo;s mind so I can understand where Emile is coming from,&rdquo; said Barry. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just Emile, it&rsquo;s that time of year when you want to be playing regularly. He has his place in the England team at the moment and won&rsquo;t want anything to change that. Playing regularly for your club can help you cement a place in the England squad.&rdquo;<br /><br />Despite being an England regular since Fabio Capello revitalised the national team, Heskey has recently struggled to hold down a place under Villa boss Martin O&rsquo;Neill.<br /><br />The 31-year-old has started just one Premier League game this season &ndash; the opening-day defeat to Wigan &ndash; with O&rsquo;Neill preferring Norwegian giant John Carew in tandem with Gabriel Agbonlahor.<br /><br />That has jeopardised his place in the England set-up, with Capello a vocal exponent of only selecting players who are starting and performing well for their clubs.<br /><br />Heskey&rsquo;s case will provide a test of the Italian&rsquo;s loyalty to that doctrine, since the powerful forward&rsquo;s prosaic attributes have dovetailed so effectively with the more mercurial talents of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney.<br /><br />&ldquo;He&rsquo;s struck a great partnership with Wayne Rooney in the qualifying campaign,&rdquo; Barry added. &ldquo;His work-rate and the way he plays for the team is second to none. Wayne and the other attacking midfielders have thrived playing off him.&rdquo;<br />