By Noel Whelan

30th Sep, 2021 | 11:53am

Smith is 'being driven nuts' at Aston Villa after Martinez latest - Whelan

Noel Whelan has claimed Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will be “very frustrated” after Emi Martinez was called up for Argentina.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the “problems” surrounding quarantining international players will be “driving every manager nuts”.

Aston Villa ace Martinez is among Lionel Scaloni’s confirmed squad to face Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru next week, with Emi Buendia omitted.

Martinez, 29, missed the Premier League defeat against Chelsea earlier this month following his return from playing for Argentina.

Whelan claimed managers will be growing frustrated with the disruption.

However, he insisted it was part and parcel of signing top-class players.

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“I think all these international games are driving every manager nuts,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“The season was long enough last year and there’s barely been any respite.

“The pandemic is still there and so are the problems that come with it.

“That’s the problem with signing international-quality players, there will always be international competition which can prevent them from giving you 100% in every game.

“On one hand it’s flattering for Aston Villa because their player is getting recognition but it will be very frustrating as they won’t want to be without such a key player in Martinez.”

The shot-stopper, along with Premier League colleagues Buendia, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero, had to travel to Croatia before returning to the UK to circumvent quarantine rules.

That came after health officials stormed the pitch to halt Argentina’s away qualifier against Brazil.

The England-based players allegedly breached Covid protocols.

Martinez could miss Villa’s Premier League derby clash against Wolves on October 16.

Argentina play Peru the previous day.

In other news, pundit backs youngster for regular Aston Villa role.