By Noel Whelan

1st Nov, 2021 | 6:00pm

Aston Villa handed 'massive' blow after confirmed Ings news - pundit

Noel Whelan has insisted the absence of Danny Ings will be “massive” as Aston Villa continue to slide down the Premier League table.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 29-year-old is one of a handful of Claret and Blues capable of being a “voice”.

Football Insider injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs specialist site Premier Injuries, has attributed Ings’ mysterious absence to Covid-19.

As quoted by Birmingham Live, manager Dean Smith didn’t comment on specific players but confirmed Aston Villa had a “few soft-tissue injuries and a couple of Covid related issues”.

The Villa Park club slumped to their fourth-straight Premier League defeat after falling 4-1 at home to West Ham on Sunday – and now sit just three points from the drop zone.

Whelan suggested players like Ings will be integral in “dragging Villa through the bad times”.

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“He’s a player with experience and right now, when they’re going through this slump, he is who they should be turning to,” he told Football Insider.

“They need players who have been in a similar situation before and who know how to get wins and stabilise the lack of confidence.

“They’re the ones who will drag you through the bad times – and to have him fit right now would have been a massive boost.

“Same as Watkins and Mings, he’s a voice out there and it’s during these times that you need those international players to step up.

“They will pull you out of the freefall Aston Villa are in currently.”

Ings is no stranger to injury absences, having missed seven games with several problems at Southampton last term (Transfermarkt).

The England international has three goals and two assists in nine league outings this term.

In other news, ex-referee tips Aston Villa star for “extended ban”.