Martin O'Neill has denied reports that Shaun Maloney was ready to quit Aston Villa for a move back to Celtic.
The versatile Maloney moved to Villa Park in January in a £1million deal, but has only started five league games for O'Neill's side.
And stories in the Scottish press had suggested Maloney was ready for a move back to Celtic Park after becoming homesick in England.
However O'Neil says the reports were simply false. "That's absolutely not true," he said in the Birmingham Mail.
"I've never received a phone call from Celtic about Shaun Maloney, ever."
O'Neill revealed he would not force any player to stay at Villa, but does not expect Maloney to be leaving.
"I'm not here to imprison anybody, but by the same token, people sign contracts and for the most part, unless they've been really hard done by, they have to abide by these things.
"I don't want life to be intolerable for people but this is professional football, and it's far from intolerable."