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Nakamba's wait is over

by Staff reporter
27 Aug 2019 at 07:38hrs | Views
WARRIORS' midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba, could make his much-anticipated debut for English Premiership football side Aston Villa in a Carabao Cup second-round clash against League Two side Crewe tonight.

The 25-year-old former Bantu Rovers star joined the Birmingham-based club for a reported fee of £10.8 million from Belgian giants Club Brugge close to a month ago but he is yet to feature for the English top-flight returnees. Yet, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith hasn't made it a secret that Nakamba is the type of player who suits his philosophy.

The Zimbabwean, who got injured in the opening game of the African Cup of Nations match against hosts Egypt in June, was reportedly still to catch up with his new teammates' fitness levels over the last three weeks.

Nakamba, along with about three other new signings, haven't been able to make it into the team, three weeks since the 2019/20 English Premiership season started.

Villa won their first league outing, a 2-0 triumph over Everton at Villa Park on Friday night, to ease mounting pressure on Smith's charges which followed a disastrous 1-3 loss to Tottenham before they lost 1-2 at home to Bournemouth in their second match of the new season.

They are 16th on the 20-team log with three points to their name, six behind leaders Liverpool.

And with Zimbabweans back home eagerly awaiting for their hero's maiden appearance in the Villa colours, it appears, they could wait no more after Smith hinted to the Birmingham Mail that the Highlanders Juniors' product may start in the Carabao Cup encounter against Crewe tonight.

In fact, Aston Villa make the short-ish trip to Crewe Alexandra tonight for the Carabao Cup second round. And according to reports from Birmingham, Smith is expected to make a number of changes following Villa's brilliant Friday night's 2-0 victory over Everton at a raucous Villa Park.

Tonight will give Smith the perfect opportunity to give some of his squad players, who include Nakamba, much-needed minutes.

"Marvelous has been catching up a bit. He got injured in the Afcon playing for Zimbabwe and joined us a bit later. He has been catching up with his fitness and is getting very close now," Smith told Birmingham Mail yesterday.  

"We signed a lot of new players. They've integrated really well but it's also about learning about the speed of the game in the Premier League and how we train and play.

"Some of them got in earlier than others and some of them are waiting their turn but are working hard in training to get into the team. You have to earn the right to play. You've got to prove you're better than the players who've already got the shirts.

"The idea is to bring in quality players who can grab their shirts off them.  

"They have to earn the right. We've had a really good pre-season where it was very competitive."

Smith could grab the Carabao opportunity as a chance to rotate his squad and evaluate the progress made by the likes of the £55 000-per-week Nakamba ahead of his team's Premiership visit to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Smith apparently has plans for the midfielder as he described him as a force in an interview with Sky Sports upon his signing.

"Marvelous fits the criteria of the type of player we were looking for. He is very mobile, he's very good in possession and he will fit in with our style of play," Smith said then.

It remains to be seen if Nakamba will make the midweek match tonight but Smith will be hopeful of giving the energetic midfielder some minutes.

Source - chronicle