Gabriel Agbonlahor has heaped praise on Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba but insisted he will be dropped for Saturday’s clash against Brighton.
The former Villa captain, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted the tight 1-0 win over Arsenal was the “perfect” opportunity to rest mainstay Douglas Luiz in favour of Nakamba.
The 27-year-old partnered John McGinn in midfield and put in six tackles against the Gunners – more than any other Villa player, according to sofascore.
The Zimbabwe international has had his opportunities limited this season with McGinn and Luiz established as Dean Smith’s first-choice midfield pair.
However, Agbonlahor believes Nakamba provides Smith with something different from the duo.
He told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “What he offers is he’s more defensively minded than Douglas Luiz. Douglas Luiz can play that role but I think he enjoys going forward and getting involved.
“Nakamba is very strict in his defensive duties.
“I think it was just perfect timing. Douglas Luiz needed a rest – he’s played a lot of football.
“He’ll definitely be back for the Brighton game and Nkamba on the bench but it was the perfect game to rest him for. A game against a good Arsenal side who are going to play attacking football and Nakamba fitted in there perfectly, breaking up the play.”
Nakamba moved to Villa from Belgian side Club Brugge at the beginning of last season for around £10million.
He started half of their Premier League games last term and has now played 44 times across all competitions for the Midlands giants.