By Football Insider speaking to Kevin Campbell

27th Feb, 2020 | 2:13pm

Exclusive: Bruce suggests 'Stubborn' Villa man may start v City after bold Smith statement

Alex Bruce has suggested that Aston Villa manager Dean Smith could start Ahmed Elmohamady in the League Cup final after his comments about squad selection.

The recently-retired defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says he knows the quality the 32-year-old possesses and that he could make a big impact on the starting XI.

Speaking after last weekend’s defeat to Southampton, Smith boldly stated that some “players have played themselves out” of being selected for Sunday’s showdown at Wembley after their “embarrassing” performance.

Having seen the Egypt international come in and out of the side all season, Bruce believes he would be a dangerous weapon to make use of on Sunday.

Bruce told Football Insider: “The one thing that Elmo does is he is a wiry, stubborn kind of player where he’s always available, he’s never injured, he trains every day. 

“He’s a really, really fit, athletic lad who you can always rely on. He’s got a really good way about him, he’s really consistent and one thing he does give you, that you’ve seen in certain games this season, he takes a touch and he looks to deliver in the box.

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“Wherever he is on the pitch, there’s one thing on his mind, is he looks to put the ball into the box in dangerous areas. That’s one positive he brings to the team when you play with him in the side. 

“If I was Dean Smith I’d be thinking: ‘Well, where are we going to score a goal and who’s going to create goals for us?’ I wouldn’t be surprised if Elmo gets the nod.” 

Elmohamady has played 17 times for Villa this season, five of those in the League Cup, and he set up Trezeguet’s winning goal in the semi-final clash versus Leicester.

In other Aston Villa news, Danny Mills has torn into a senior star who has “gone off the boil” completely.