Gerrard Houllier keen to make a return to management

The Frenchman left Villa Park in June after suffering health problems. Houllier was taken to hospital with five games remaining in the season and was replaced in the short term by his assistant Gary McAllister, before Alex McLeish was appointed as his permanent successor.

But now the 63-year-old says he is keen to return to the game but says his priority is to make sure he returns to full health.

Comback? Houllier is keen to return to football - but only if his health is ok

He said: 'I will definitely still be linked with football - it is my life.

'But I will follow the doctors' advice and if the advice is not to get back into management, I won't

It is not the first time that football has put a strain on Houllier's health, in the 2001-02 season when in charge at Liverpool he missed five months of the season due to heart problems.

And Houllier, who replaced Martin O'Neill at Villa Park at the beginning of last season, says there was an option for him to return to Villa.

He added: 'There was an option of leaving the team to Gary McAllister and I would come back in September.

Key man: Houllier would have tried to keep Downing at Villa but says if the player wanted to move there was nothing he could do

'But the chairman and owner wanted to go another route and I have to respect that. We left on good terms, no acrimony, no bitterness.

Houllier believes that Villa are capable of challenging for a top six spot in the Barclays Premier League under McLeish - even with the loss on England winger Stewart Downing.

He added: 'I would have done everything to keep Downing but when a player wants to leave you can't do much about it in modern days,' he added. 'All you can do is try to find a replacement.'

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Source: Daily Mail