Aston Villa players

Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed it is time for Aston Villa defender Bjorn Engels to leave with clubs in his native Belgium circling.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer suggested the 26-year-old does not have the required pace to play in England’s top-flight.

Belgian media outlet Voetbalkrant report Engels is likely to leave Villa Park this month with Royal Antwerp and Anderlecht possible destinations.

The 6ft 4in centre-back has not featured for Dean Smith’s side all season and has struggled with a shin and thigh injury.

Tellingly he did not even make Villa’s nine-man bench for their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford last Friday night.

“It’s time for him to move on,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider.

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“The problem with the Premier League now is you have to have pace in defence.

“Unless you’re an unbelievable defender and you can read the game unbelievably you need to have the pace at the back.

“That’s what Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause allow you. If they make a mistake they’ve got the pace to make up for it. If they’re left one-on-one they’ve got the pace to stop the attacker.

“The problem with Engels is that if he’s left one-on-one he hasn’t got that pace so he’s going to get found out a bit.

“That’s what it is, it’s one of those things. You’re going to play your quicker defenders in the Premier League.

“You look at all the top teams, they try and get pace in their backline.”

Engels started last season as Villa’s first-choice centre-back alongside Mings following his £8million move from Reims.

However, he did not play in the Premier League when it resumed in June as Villa ensured the top-flight status on the final day.

In other news, a top pundit who’s “good friends” with one Aston Villa player has dropped a huge dressing room claim after sighting.