By Amir Mir
Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo has said that striker Gabby Agbonlahor will be given another chance at the club.
The club’s longest serving player was put on a fitness regime at the back-end of last season as he gave up the Villa captaincy .
Agbonlahor scored only one goal last season as he watched his boyhood club drop into the second-tier of English football for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Despite several off-field incidents, and poor on-field performances, his manager Roberto Di Matteo confirmed he will be given a chance ahead of the new Championship season.
“Yes everyone has a chance,” said Di Matteo as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “Gabby is part of the group. If he is fit and wants to show the quality that he has, he has a chance.”
The decision by the Italian will infuriate supporters as they want the underperformers of last season to leave Villa Park.
Many protests were held in the 2015-16 season with regards to the running of the club, player performances and lack of interest with those in charge, as supporters demanded change.
Subsequently, new owner Tony Xia purchased the club for a reported £75 million, installing former Chelsea boss Di Matteo as the man to drive the club to success.
But, Agbonlahor, who has missed a big chunk of pre-season due to injury, found support from his manager.
“It’s difficult to make a judgement about what happened in the past,” said Di Matteo. “He did the first part of pre-season and was fine.”
“Then he picked up a new injury and hasn’t been able to do the second part. When fit and available he will be one of the players I could select.”
Di Matteo now has the task of re-uniting the supporters with the players as the club bid for instant promotion to the Premier League.
The Midlands club will take on last years play-off finalists Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on August 7.
In other Aston Villa team news, Di Matteo shares his view on this departed Villa flop.