By Darren Bent

21st Nov, 2019 | 8:02pm

Exclusive: Darren Bent tips Villa mainstay for axe v Newcastle after behind-the-scenes sighting

Darren Bent has tipped Aston Villa manager Dean Smith to axe midfield mainstay Marvelous Nakamba from his starting XI versus Newcastle United with Jack Grealish back in training.

The former Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that he is a big fan of Douglas Luiz and says that a midfield trio of the Brazilian, John McGinn and Grealish is perfect to take on the Magpies.

Villa revealed via their official Twitter account that the homegrown hero was back in first-team training ahead of Monday night’s clash, the midfielder having missed the last two games through injury.

With Smith having named Nakamba, McGinn and Luiz in the starting XI against Wolves, Bent says he thinks the Zimbabwe international will be the one dropping to make room for Grealish.

Asked who could miss out, Bent told Football Insider: “Marvelous, I think. I like Douglas Luiz, I think he’s a good player, great technique on the ball and he’s been playing really well.

“For me, it would be Douglas Luiz and Jack Grealish in the middle of the park because I think they’re better suited to each other – and of course John McGinn.”

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Nakamba has started the last eight Premier League games for Smith, the defensive enforcer having joined the club from Club Brugge over the summer.

In comparison, both Douglas and Grealish have 10 top-flight outings under their belt this season, although only six of those have come among the starting XI for the Brazilian.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton claims that an “infectious” Villa player is set to give Smith a boost in training.