Villa boss heaps praise on Nakamba ahead of Man City clash

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By Sports Reporter

ASTON Villa manager Dean Smith has heaped praise on Zimbabwean midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba following his impressive start to life in the English Premier League.

Nakamba, who joined the premiership side from Belgian outfit, Club Brugge, has been an ever-present for Villa since breaking into Smith’s eleven, playing in every game since the goalless draw against West Ham at home.

Smith, who watched Nakamba put up another fine display during his team’s last gasp 2-1 home win over Brighton and Hove last weekend, said he has been impressed by how the Zimbabwean star conducted himself on and off the pitch since his move.

“He’s a wonderful person. He’s got such an enthusiasm that, when you meet him, straight away you’re endeared to him,” Smith said.

“He wanted to come and play in the Premier League and believes he’s good enough and we believed that. He’s the sort of player that we felt could improve us as a team. The dressing room has helped him settle in, he’s got Bjorn Engels and Wesley who he’s played with at Brugge.”

Nakamba is expected to yet again play an important role when Villa play English premiership champions Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday.

Villa are currently in 12th position on the log with 11 points from nine matches while City are second on 19 points from as many matches, six behind leaders Liverpool.

Nakamba was on Wednesday called up to the Zimbabwe Warriors squad for next month’s African Cup of Nations 2021 qualifiers.

Zimbabwe host Botswana in the opening Group H match of the qualification campaign scheduled for Barbourfields Stadium on November 15 before travelling to Zambia for a date against the hosts four days later.

The 25-year-old withdrew from the Warriors’ previous squad for the preliminary round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers back in September, instead wanting to settle into his new surroundings at Villa Park.

Zimbabwe have already qualified for the 2020 African Nations Championship and will compete alongside 15 other countries between January and February in Cameroon.

However, nations in this lesser competition can only select players from their respective countries – meaning the likes of Nakamba will not take part, allowing the midfielder to stay with Villa throughout January.