By Danny Mills

21st Feb, 2020 | 12:00pm

Exclusive: Mills suggests Villa star has one game to avoid imminent axe after Smith update

Danny Mills has suggested that Aston Villa midfielder Danny Drinkwater has just over a week to save himself from being axed from the side by Dean Smith.

The former Leeds and England defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes that the return of John McGinn from injury poses a serious threat to the Chelsea loanee’s place in the side.

Delivering an update on the Scottish midfielder, Smith confirmed the 25-year-old would be available in the coming weeks, although left his availability for the League Cup final up in the air.

Having seen Drinkwater feature regularly since swapping Burnley for Villa in January, Mills has suggested that he could have the game against Southampton to prove he deserves to keep his place in the side.

“If McGinn gets back to any sort of fitness, and he’s got a couple of weeks or 10 days to do so, do you whack him straight in against Manchester City?” Mills asked Football Insider.

“You may well do ahead of Drinkwater. Maybe that’s what he’s waiting for, maybe he’s just holding out on Drinkwater until McGinn is fit and then he can throw him in.

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“It wouldn’t surprise me, if Drinkwater’s game doesn’t improve, he throws McGinn in against Manchester City in the cup.” 

McGinn featured 20 times for Villa before breaking his ankle earlier this season, a setback which has kept him out since December.

Drinkwater meanwhile has four appearances under his belt for the Villans.

In other Aston Villa news, Darren Bent told Football Insider he is head over heels for new signing.