Kevin Phillips claims he would be “trying like mad” to convince Callum O’Hare to stay at Aston Villa with the attacker in the final three weeks of his contract.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former England international suggested the 22-year-old would be a real asset in the Championship next season if Villa suffered relegation.
Football Insider revealed that the academy graduate, who is out of contract on 30 June, has rebuffed multiple attempts by the club to extend his deal and now appears destined to become a free agent next month.
O’Hare has spent the past nine months on loan at Coventry City who have just gained promotion to the Championship after League One was curtailed.
The English midfielder scored four goals and contributed seven assists in his 39 appearances across all competitions.
When asked by Football Insider if losing O’Hare would be a blow to Dean Smith, Phillips said: “I have watched him a couple of times this season and he looks like an exciting prospect.
“He looks really happy at Coventry and now that they are promoted, he may be tempted to stay. But Aston Villa are a huge, huge football club.
“If Villa were to go down I would be trying like mad if I was Dean Smith to get him back to my club to help us get straight back to the Premier League.
“He has shown that he can handle first-team football at that level. He would step up to the Championship no problem.
“Is he ready for a season in the Premier League? Probably not but if Villa were in the Championship I would certainly want him back and helping.
“It is disappointing for Dean Smith but players often go out on loan, enjoy themselves and want to stay.”
In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider where he expects Jack Grealish to be next season.