Kevin Phillips fears Tom Heaton may seek an exit from Aston Villa next summer following the arrival of Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former England international said “there is every possibility” that Heaton, 34, leaves the club in search of first-team football if he cannot regain his number one status from the new signing.
Villa confirmed the signing of Martinez last week after Football Insider revealed that a £17million plus add-ons bid had been accepted by the Gunners.
Heaton was last season’s first-choice goalkeeper but has been sidelined since New Year’s Day with a knee injury – he is expected to return next month.
The England international left Burnley to join Dean Smith’s side in 2019 for £8million because he wanted to play regular football having lost his place at Turf Moor to Nick Pope.
When asked by Football Insider if there was a possibility Heaton would seek an exit, Phillips said: “It is possible Heaton looks for a move and that is football.
“He is used to playing regularly. I know he has been out injured but he has always been the number one with people talking about how good he is.
“There is every opportunity that he leaves. It is about the character of the person. Some are happy to sit there and not play but with Tom I get the impression that he wants to play. There is every possibility that Tom will leave next summer.
“Dean Smith will know that and be well prepared for it. I hope that is not the case but if it is then I would always say well done to the player because he just wants to go and play football. Rather than just sitting there and picking your wages up.”
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