Noel Whelan has torn into Aston Villa boss Dean Smith after revealed he could be missing two players should the Premier League return amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The former Leeds United and Middlesbrough striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists the manager’s comments could be considered “disrespectful” to the other players at Villa Park.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Smith revealed he could be without two members of his squad if and when the club return to training due to the risk of the Coronavirus infection.
He explained that one player is considered at risk due to being asthmatic and another lives with a vulnerable member of family.
Whelan believes that Smith may be using their prospective absences as an excuse not to resume the season and insists he would be “very disgruntled’ if he was part of the squad.
Whelan told Football Insider: “Are you telling me that one football club is governed by two players and that makes them weak? No!
“If you’re saying that, then that’s disrespectful to the rest of the players that you’ve got at your football club. It’s a team game and it takes 22 of the squad to be successful, not one or two.
“If we said we’re not Leeds United without Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez, that would be disrespectful to the players sitting on the bench or in the squad fighting for a position.
“Look, put faith in your players – you’re losing two players, not 11 or 15. You’re losing two. I would be very disgruntled if I was one of the players with him thinking I can’t do that job if I’m somebody to replace one of these two players.”
Villa currently sit 19th in the Premier League table, two points behind Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham.
Smith’s men have a game in hand over their relegation rivals, with one of their postponed matches set to come against the Hammers.
In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED the club have opened talks over a new striker deal.