By Gabriel Agbonlahor

7th Oct, 2022 | 5:21pm

Agbonlahor verdict on Aston Villa axing Philippe Coutinho amid meeting reveal

Emiliano Buendia has not done enough to be named in the Aston Villa starting XI ahead of Philippe Coutinho, according to Gabby Agbonlahor.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Aston Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer claimed Buendia has not been “outrageous” and his performances do not justify dropping Coutinho.

The pair have both featured in all eight of Villa’s Premier League games this season but Buendia’s goal against Everton is the only time either have found the net.

Coutinho started the 0-0 draw with Leeds United last week (2 October) while Buendia was introduced from the bench.

As quoted by Birmingham Live earlier this week (4 October), Steven Gerrard revealed he had held a big meeting with his players ahead of the run up to the World Cup.

“Coutinho, for me, showed against Leeds some bright sparks,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.

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“When Coutinho and Buenida play together it maybe doesn’t really work. When Buendia has started he’s not been outrageous. His stats aren’t outstanding in terms of assists and goals.

“I can understand why Gerrard will keep playing Coutinho, to be honest. On his day, Coutinho is a better player than Buendia.

“When Buendia gets his chance, whether it’s 10 minutes or 15 minutes, he’s got to show why he needs to start.

“If Buendia was scoring or getting assists, he wouldn’t have been dropped. Steven Gerrard would have found a place for him.

“If the shot that hit the post against Leeds went it, we’d be saying ‘Coutinho didn’t give up, he scored a worldie and is back to his best’.

“Sometimes when Villa fans get something in their head about a player, they can’t lose it.

“In their head, they want Buendia over Coutinho. Coutinho could score a hat-trick and they’d want Buendia.”

In other news, Aston Villa have a “Callum Wilson in their ranks” as an “amazing” claim is issued.