Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has sung the praises of Emile Heskey - while insisting he is very much an Aston Villa player at present.
The England striker has been linked with a return to the DW Stadium as he has failed to command a starting spot lately at Villa, whom he joined from the Latics in a £3.5million deal in January.
Wigan owner Dave Whelan has hinted he could bid to bring Heskey back in the New Year and Martinez, while keen to respect Aston Villa, says he is also a big fan of the England striker.
No strangerThe Spaniard told Sky Sports News: "Well Emile is not a stranger at Wigan Athletic and that's why I think there has been the comments from our chairman and everyone connected to the football club.
"But obviously first and foremost it's very, very clear he's an Aston Villa player and we will always be respectful to this football club.
"On the other side, we can speak from the past. Everyone has got great memories from Emile from his time at Wigan Athletic.
"Not just on the pitch, it's just what he represents, the way he approaches his career, the example and the true ambassador that he was for the football club.
"So when you've got personalities like him, we'll always have great comments from our self.
"But at the moment, he is an Aston Villa player and there is nothing that we should say because that would be disrespectful to the club who's got Emile at the moment."