By Noel Whelan

13th Nov, 2022 | 5:15am

Unai Emery has dropped major Aston Villa hint after new Morgan Sanson development - pundit

Noel Whelan has urged Morgan Sanson to “take advantage” of a “massive opportunity” given to him by Unai Emery at Aston Villa after he took to the field against Man United.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 28-year-old will have been “craving” an opening like this during his long spell out of the starting lineup.

Sanson made his first appearance of the 2022-23 season and just his second outing since March after he came on in the final minutes of Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Man United on Sunday (6 November).

The Villa Park win was Emery’s first game in charge at the Midlands giants after succeeding Steven Gerrard – who had frozen the Frenchman out of the starting lineup.

Football Insider revealed earlier this year (26 April) that Aston Villa were willing to accept offers of £10million for Sanson amid interest from former club Marseille with Gerrard seeing him as surplus to requirements..

The former France Under-21 international has made a total of 21 appearances since joining the club in January 2021.

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Whelan claimed an exit for Gerrard was the only way Sanson was going to get another chance at Villa.

He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “Every time a new manager comes in, those who were in the shadows are now back in the sunshine.

“This is the opening that some of these players crave.

“No one wants a manager to fail, but Sanson will have known that the only way he was going to get back into the first team was for Gerrard to be sacked.

“It’s a massive opportunity for players who have been shoved out, like him, to take advantage of that clean slate and put their case across to Unai Emery.”

In other news, Gabby Agbonlahor claims Aston Villa may be ready to rip up Philippe Coutinho contract after major reveal.