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Nakamba: Agbonlahor advises Aston Villa to keep Zimbabwe midfielder despite limited playing time

19:58 GMT 09/12/2020
Marvelous Nakamba, Aston Villa 2019-20
The Zimbabwe international has found regular playing time hard to come by since the start of the season

Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has urged Dean Smith to keep Marvelous Nakamba in his team despite his struggles for playing time.

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 Zimbabwe midfielder has only played 13 minutes of football in two Premier League outings this term, and he also made three appearances in the Carabao Cup before their exit to Stoke City in October.

The presence of Douglas Luiz, Ross Barkley, Conor Hourihane, Jack Grealish and John McGinn in Dean Smith's squad have made Nakamba drop down the pecking order, however, Agbonlahor thinks the 26-year-old 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 and he also helped them reach the Carabao Cup final where they lost 2-1 to Manchester City, with Tanzania's Mbwana Samatta scoring Aston Villa's only goal in the game.