Aston Villa

Wesley will not start a game for Aston Villa this season despite recently returning from a long-term injury, according to Gabby Agbonlahor.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa captain insisted he will not be risked unnecessarily with Dean Smith’s side having little left to play for this season.

Wesley was introduced from the bench in the dying stages against West Brom on Sunday for his first appearance for Villa since January 2020.

Aston Villa

The 24-year-old suffered a devastating knee ligament injury against Burnley over 15 months ago.

Speaking after the game with West Brom, Smith told Birmingham Live it was “one of the most significant injuries” he’d seen in football.

“He’s going to be an important player,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

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“Just what Dean Smith said in his interview that it was the worst injury he’s ever seen shows how bad it was.

“They won’t rush him back. He’ll probably get 10 minutes in the next game, the game after he’ll get 15 minutes. There’s no point rushing him back when they’re not playing for top five, top six.

“There’s no point rushing him back and it happens again.

“I’m sure Dean Smith over the next five games he’ll bring him on bit by bit. I don’t think he’ll start a game for the rest of the season. They’ll be very cautious with him and know not to rush him.”

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Smith praised the striker’s “strength of character” after the game and revealed his return was welcomed by the Villa squad.

He said: “I named the squad yesterday on the training pitch and he got a round of applause from the players. There’s a great togetherness but solidarity around him as well.”

In other news, an Aston Villa 26-year-old is set to be out for a year in a devastating blow.