Stephen Warnock is more worried about maintaining his club form than forcing his way back in for his country.
Warnock’s hopes of finally furthering his England career were dashed when he was left out of Villa’s first-team squad for half of last season. The 29-year-old left-back has forced his way back in and has been a Premier League ever-present so far this term. But Warnock wants to concentrate on the claret and blues before thinking of the Three Lions.
Despite being a member of last summer’s World Cup squad and winning his second cap less last November, he admits the competition for England is intense.
“Whatever happens beyond my club form is a bonus, but I understand it’s a difficult position to get in for England because Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines are in form and then there’s Kieran Gibbs, who is also a good player.
“All I can do is try to play well. I’m just concentrating on my club football.”
Warnock scored his second Villa goal in the recent defeat at Manchester City but he insists his main priority is defending.
“I like to get forward but I try to set up people who know how to score,” he said. “I enjoy the role of provider, but my main aim is to defend our goal. The back four love it when we keep a clean sheet. We thrive on that.
“If I can get a goal that’s a bonus, but it’s not something that enters my head. I don’t go up for corners so I’m never going to score like that.”
Meanwhile Villa defender Alan Hutton has emerged as a serious doubt for the weekend with the former Sunderland loanee’s facial injury worse than first feared. Medics are concerned the cut near his eye could inhibit his vision and heading.