By Amir Mir

Robbie Savage believes footballers such as Aston Villa’s Gabby Agbonlahor should have “no excuses” for their controversial lifestyles.

Striker Agbonlahor recently returned to the first-team fold at Villa Park, after being put on a fitness regime in April and by new manager Steve Bruce this season.

The 30-year-old has been highly criticised for his weight in the past 12 months as he gave up the club captaincy last season following a number of discipline issues off the field.

Despite that Bruce has offered him a clean slate this term as the club’s longest player has made two cameo appearances over the last two weeks.

But former Premier League player Savage believes experienced professionals playing at the high level should know better.

“Gabby Agbonlahor was packed off for two weeks in April by Aston Villa to undertake a personal fitness programme- It worries me, in this day and age, that footballers’ fitness is even an issue,” Savage wrote in his Mirror column.

“Maybe you could understand a League Two player who is on £600-a-week cutting a few corners with his diet and lifestyle, but Premier League stars have no excuses.”

Promotion expert Bruce used Agbonlahor as a surprise ten-minute substitute against Birmingham City, before he came off the bench to help Villa beat Blackburn 2-1 last Saturday.

Bruce has stated that the boyhood Villa fan is ahead of schedule in his six-week fitness programme as the former Premier League boss aims for instant promotion.

Villa are currently 14th in the Championship table with 21 points from 11 games, five points off Leeds, who hold the final play-off spot.

In other Aston Villa team news, supporters on Twitter have asked for a bigger allocation as the Leeds fixture is sold out.