By Harry Sykes
Tommy Ephick was handed his first Aston Villa start for two months in their defeat to Fulham on Monday – and fans took to Twitter to pan his display.
The 29-year-old was one of three centre-backs named in the starting XI as Steve Bruce made five changes and deployed a 3-5-2 formation for the team’s second match in three days.
It did not pay dividends as 10-man Villa slumped to a 3-1 defeat, their second consecutive Championship defeat after falling to the same scoreline at Reading on Saturday.
Elphick was handed a rare start as Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane, Leandro Bacuna, Alan Hutton and Albert Adomah were axed from the starting XI.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) April 17, 2017
Ryan Sessegnon put Fulham ahead at Craven Cottage before Jonathan Kodjia was sent off for violent conduct.
Jack Grealish equalised early in the second half but Sone Aluko and Neeskens Kebano secured the three points with subsequent strikes.
Villa fans were unimpressed with their side’s defensive display and highlighted the performance of Elphick, with many claiming he should be sold in the summer.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
Really expected Elphick to be a presence & regular this season.Very decent individual but will be surprised if he isn’t sold #avfc
— DOMINIC HUNT (@domhunt73) April 17, 2017
No surprise with that #avfc result given rubbish selections. Grealish/Gardner lightweight, Amavi useless, Elphick is shot.
— Silver Fox (@silver_fox24) April 17, 2017
Disaster! Elphick and Gardner are anonymous. Should come off at half time. #avfc
— Carl Simpson (@carlsimpson92) April 17, 2017
Grealish, Amavi, Elphick and Gardner shouldn’t be here next season. #avfc
— Ja’Crispy Oakley (@Gazoaks) April 17, 2017
Gary Gardner, Elphick, Amavi & weak Grealish can all get out of this team in the summer. And not soon enough. #avfc
— Sam Wells (@SameWells) April 17, 2017
— Kieron (@KieronWhetton) April 17, 2017
Elphick was given his first start since the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle in February, and since then he has played just 15 minutes of football.
The 29-year-old had been an unused substitute in seven of Villa’s previous 10 games after losing his starting spot.
In other Aston Villa news, talks are to get underway as a proven Premier League performer wants to join the Midlands club.