By Paul Brown
Emile Heskey says Gerard Houllier has made it clear everyone has a part to play at Villa and the powerful forward lived up to that mantra by producing a super sub masterclass.
Houllier has told the players he is a firm believer that it's not just about the starting XI - the substitutes and even players not involved and sitting in the stands are also vital cogs in the claret and blue wheel.
Heskey was obviously paying close attention to the pep talk as he came off the bench to great effect, scoring one goal and having a hand in the other two as Villa saw off Blackburn 3-1.
He said: "You come into a game and you're looking to make an impact - it was nice to have that impact.
"The lads were plugging away and doing well. When you come on as a sub you try to do something positive and that's what I managed, which was great.
"It was nice to get out there and contribute to the team. The manager told us it's not just the XI on the park, it's the subs too and the lads in the stands as well.
"Everyone is part of it and we need everyone focusing on the same goal. That's what we're doing.
"For my goal, when you get time like that, it's a bit more difficult - it's the ones where you have a split-second to think about it that you seem to do better with.
"But I managed to get it out of my feet nice and early and drill it home.
"The lads at that point were creating a few chances. The goal gave us that little bit of a boost.
"I thought Ash was brilliant all game and he got his two goals, which he thoroughly deserved.
"He doesn't get many headers - but he's a brave lad and he's always willing to put his head in there.
"It was nice to turn creator for the third - I put it on a plate for him."
Heskey would now love an impressive run in the competition.
He continued: "It would be great to go all the way now in this competition, like we did last season. It's all about winning trophies. I have managed that in my career and I want it to carry on."
The powerful forward made headlines after the World Cup by announcing his retirement from international football.
He believes the move will boost his claret and blue career - but also revealed he will look back fondly at his distinguished spell representing the Three Lions.
He added: "Retirement is one of those things you decide to do. It wasn't that difficult.
"I'd had a lot of years of training and playing with England so it was a long time and I thought the time was right. It was nice to step back.
"It's been great. When I started out, if someone had told me I would play for my country for that many years I'd have probably laughed at them. But it's nice. I have a lot of happy memories."
Picture: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images