By Sports Reporter
FORMER Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has urged Dean Smith to keep Zimbabwe international midfielder Marvelous Nakamba in his team despite the footballer’s struggles for playing time this season.
Nakamba is having a contrasting campaign at Villa Park compared to his maiden season in England where he played over 30 games across all competitions.
The 26-year-old defensive midfielder has only played 13 minutes of football in two Premier League outings this term.
Nakamba also made three appearances in the Carabao Cup before Aston Villa’s exit to Stoke City in October.
The Zimbabwean star has struggled for game time having fallen down the pecking order in the Villa coach Dean Smith’s midfield options behind Douglas Luiz, Ross Barkley, Conor Hourihane and John McGinn.
However, Agbonlahor (pictured below), who is considered a legend at Villa having spent an incredible 13 years at the club, thinks Nakamba still has a role to play in the squad later in the season.
“I actually don’t, to be honest,” the former Aston Villa captain responded to Football Insider when asked if Nakamba should be sold in January.
“Dean Smith will have picked his 25-man squad for the season, unless he has money to bring in new signings, I don’t think he would get rid of him.
“Just because you’ve got Luiz, Grealish, Hourihane, McGinn, Barkley in front of him at the moment, there’s injuries and suspensions that could happen. Who do you call for then? I’m sure he’s the next one in line.
“I’m sure Dean Smith will be thinking he’ll use him at some point this season when needed.
“At the moment, Dean Smith needs a big squad for the season. The last thing you want is to have just 18 senior players available, as some clubs have already done this season like Burnley.
“That can easily happen if you decide to move players on. For sure, I think he keeps hold of him and he’s involved in the squad.”
Nakamba joined Aston Villa in 2019 from Club Brugge on a five-year deal.
During his first season at the club, he helped the Claret and Blue Army maintain their top-flight status with his presence in the middle of the park as they finished 17th in the table.
Nakamba also helped them reach the Carabao Cup final where they lost 2-1 to Manchester City but his fortunes changed after the Premier League’s resumption from the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Warriors star has recently been linked with a January loan move to Turkish giants Galatasaray.