Nakamba completes return from injury; features in Villa’s Under 23 game

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ASTON Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba completed his return to action from a knee injury.

Nakamba played an hour for Villa ‘s Under-23s in a 4-1 defeat to Stoke City in the Premier League 2 competition at Villa Park. The Zimbabwe international has not featured since December 11, when he picked up a knee injury in a game against Liverpool.

Nakamba had to have surgery on his knee and has been sidelined for nearly five months. He had a tricky start to the season but thrived under Steven Gerrard, becoming a key player for him after he replaced Dean Smith in November.

Now Nakamba is really stepping up his comeback from injury and could be in contention for the game against Tottenham Hotspur on April 9. “Hopefully, he can be back and have a full week leading into Tottenham and maybe be available to face them,” Gerrard said.

“It might be a bit too soon for him now because he hasn’t had any serious game time. “Hopefully, he comes through that, recovers well and then he can be back with the group.

“He’s been back training fully for ten, 12 days, and he’s smiling, getting closer and closer.” Nakamba’s return to fitness is massive for Gerrard, who has played Douglas Luiz at the base of midfield in the absence of the 28-year-old.

Once he is back, then Villa will have no injury worries with Lucas Digne also back after a hamstring problem that ruled him out of the Arsenal match last time out. “The rest are all healthy, in a good place, and ready to go,” Gerrard added.

Villa are looking to recruit a new defensive midfielder in the summer, with Kalvin Phillips and Yves Bissouma of Leeds United and Brighton and Hove Albion both targets for Gerrard. Nakamba, though, will look to prove his worth for the final stretch of the campaign with nine games remaining.