New boss Alex McLeish is hoping he can convince England star Stewart Downing to stay at Aston Villa - but concedes Ashley Young is on his way.

McLeish was officially unveiled at Villa Park on Monday and walks into a job which will require some considerable fire-fighting.

The Scot knows he has work to do to win over a sceptical fanbase, while he must also address transfer issues regarding his first-team squad.

Adding to what he has already got will be a priority, but it is also imperative that he is able to keep his top stars out of the clutches of a Premier League rival.

It is precisely that situation he faces with Downing, as the England winger has shelved contract talks amid mounting reports that Liverpool are set to swoop for his services.

"No chance do we want Stewart Downing to go. We certainly don't want to lose Stewart," McLeish told talkSPORT. "He's a top player.

"I need to see what Stewart's thinking when he comes back because I know that he made some comments when he was away on England duty.

"I'll have a chat with one or two in the coming days and weeks before pre-season training starts and once I get them in for pre-season training proper then I'll get a better idea."

While there is still a chance that Downing could be talked into staying put, McLeish concedes that Young is destined to complete a big-money move to Manchester United.

"It's not confirmed yet but it does seem likely," he said. "In my humble opinion it will be very difficult [to keep hold of him]."