The Villa boss has been impressed with the way Heskey has slotted into the position in training during the international break and could provide back-up in that department.
McLeish said: "We now know what Emile can do. He can play in any position. I could even play him at the back without any fears.
"We played him at centre-back last week (in training) and he was spraying the ball about as if I was watching Franz Beckenbauer. He is a brilliant all-round player, he understands the game and we need him in the squad."
He said: "I'd like to keep Kevin. He is a cherished first team staff member. The knowledge of him and Gordon Cowans has been vital to me settling in at Aston Villa."