Dean Smith has an “incredible” backup option in Ahmed Elmohamady after Matty Cash’s injury blow at Aston Villa.
That is the view of former Villa and Scotland manager Alex McLeish who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the once-erratic full-back had matured into an excellent option for Dean Smith.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash against the Foxes, the Villa boss namedropped the Egypt international as a “fit and able” replacement for the injured Cash.
"We haven't had too many injuries but when we have, people have come in and done the job for them." 💪
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) February 17, 2021
The former Nottingham Forest man faces a couple of weeks out after picking up a hamstring strain against Brighton.
Elmohamady is the obvious replacement for Cash after fellow right-back Frederic Guilbert left for Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg on loan in January.
McLeish admitted he used to think the Egyptian lacked the footballing intelligence to be a top full-back but insisted the Villa man had developed into a fine player.
“He’s played wing-back for a few years, Steve Bruce played him as a wing-back not only at Aston Villa but at Hull City as well and again, very experienced,” McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“He’s a very experienced player and back in the day you would have said maybe a little bit erratic but effective, now he’s got a pretty good footballing brain and he’s kind of merged the good points of his game together.
“He’s thinking about things and not just hammering down the line all the time and recovering defensively extremely well. That is another incredible positive for a manager when he has a backup like that.”
Elmohamady came off the bench against Brighton to make his ninth appearance of the season for Villa.
His only Premier League start this term came as a result of Cash being suspended for the 0-0 draw against Burnley.