Euphoric from his decisive goal at Portsmouth, taken with his customary aplomb, Heskey said: "Once I spoke to him that was it. He didn't have to take too long selling it, that's for sure. It's a big club."
O'Neill's inspirational motivation also helped convince the striker to leave Wigan for Villa's Champions League ambitions, starting to come to fruition after the win at Fratton Park.
"He brings out a belief in players that they can go out and perform well," Heskey said.
"I know people say I don't believe in myself but I don't think that's right, because I do. I wouldn't still be playing if I didn't believe in myself. I'm 31 and I've broken back into the England squad twice. I hope Martin has the ability to give me something more again.
"To start working with him again was like meeting an old friend you haven't seen for years and dropping straight back into the way it was.
"All the memories of when I was under him at Leicester came straight back."
Despite the impression that Villa's title chase has only been kept alive by marginal victories, Heskey believed that the club had longer-term big-four credentials.
"I think we have the squad with the right qualities," he said. "You must be collectively strong – but you have to have some very individual players, too." Heskey, with the physical presence he has brought to Villa's attack, is assuredly one of those.