Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Gerrard gives Nakamba one last chance

by Staff reporter
15 Sep 2022 at 05:51hrs | Views
ZIMBABWEAN midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has been given probably one last chance to impress Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, with the Hwange-born player having to fight for his life in the remaining 12 games before the next football transfer window is opened in January 2023.

Nakamba, who has not played a part in Villa's campaign since the start of the 2022/2023 English Premiership season, just managed to keep his place in the squad after failing to secure a move away at the close of the latest transfer window a fortnight ago.

Gerrard had indicated Villa were prepared to accept offers for the midfielder. But the Zimbabwean and fellow midfielder Morgan Sanson were challenged to force their way back into Gerrard's thinking after it had become clear the duo had fallen out of favour with the manager. And, as Villa brace for the coming league game against Southampton this Friday at the Villa Park, latest images of the team's training showed Nakamba and Sanson getting involved in the preparations.

According to the Birmingham Mail, the players have to up their game to increase their chances of nailing places in the team. There is still hope for Nakamba though and his attitude ahead of the next 12 games will be key.

"The latest round of training photos have dropped, though, with two players who've yet to feature this season involved once again. Sanson and Nakamba are yet to make it onto the pitch so far with the two players failing to secure moves away on transfer deadline day a fortnight ago.

"Both Sanson and Nakamba have drastically fallen out of favour in B6, while Gerrard has challenged the pair to force their way back into his thinking with 12 games remaining before the January transfer window," reported the Birmingham Mail.

Nakamba and Sanson have to battle for match day recognition in the Villa squad, with a large 10-man midfield complement, that also includes Brazilian Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Emiliano Buendia, Philippe Coutinho, Leon Bailey, Leander Dendoncker, Jacob Ramsey and Boubacar Kamara.

Nakamba was one of the survivors when the club offloaded the likes of Anwar El Ghazi, who moved to PSV for £2.25million, Trezeguet (Trabzonspor, £3.6m), Carney Chukwuemeka (Chelsea, £20m) and Matt Targett (Newcastle United, £15m). Lovre Kalinic (Hadjuk Split) and Conor Hourihane (Derby County) also moved on free transfers.

Jaden Philogene (Cardiff City), Keinan Davis (Watford), Kortney Hause (Watford), Bertrand Traore (Istanbul Basaksehir), Wesley (Levante UD) and Tim Iroegbunam (QPR) all secured loan moves for first-team football.

However, the out-of-favour trio of Nakamba, Sanson and Frederic Guilbert remained having failed to secure moves in the transfer window. Guilbert, who continues to train with Villa's Under-21s, has since been removed from the club's website.

 The Birmingham Mail also quoted Gerrard, giving his mind on the players on the peripheries of his selection.

"First and foremost in football you have to motivate yourself," said Gerrard.

"But in terms of the collective I try to motivate the players for every single game. But you've got to be professional, that's what you're paid to be. "Nothing can change as of now, the window's shut so there should be a hunger and a will to want to perform and do the best they can.

"They are contracted here to Aston Villa and I'll certainly get a feel of all those players of where they are at with their thinking, with what they tell me and the feedback I get and we'll go from there."

Nakamba is now into the final season of his five-year deal, with a weekly salary of £32 500. The 28-year-old was the Villa shining star in the first month of Gerrard's appointment as manager but he was never the same after suffering a devastating knee injury last December.

The knock required surgery and the midfielder only returned after four months and played cameos until the end of the season. However, he has not been able to break into the starting team, with six games played so far in the current season.

Source - The Herald