COMMENT By Matt Farr
Questions are often raised over the ability of midfielders to perform at the top level once they pass the age of 30, with criticisms over their mobility and stamina.
But a number of talents, including England icons Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick have proved that age is just a number.
At 32-years-old, Aston Villa first teamer Mile Jedinak is also defying the odds.
The Australia international has paid back every single penny of his £4million transfer fee with a series of assured and reliable displays this season, swiftly becoming one of Aston Villa’s most prized assets.
Villa have been faced with ongoing defensive problems throughout the campaign, but the experienced Jedinak has helped spark a remarkable turnaround that has seen the club discover new-found defensive security.
The Championship club beat Norwich on Saturday to record their sixth win – and sixth clean sheet – from their last seven matches, with Jedinak putting in a typically dominant midfield display.
But the defensive-midfielder has also been forced to try his hands as an emergency centre-back in recent weeks, to great success.
His ability to perform at his best in various different defensive roles – no matter how unfamiliar – shows just how valuable an asset he is to the team.
Of course, Aston Villa would be nowhere without the goalscoring input of Jonathan Kodjia either, but take Jedinak out of the team and there’d be a massive difference – and not a good one.
There has been talk of Jedinak quitting the club this summer, but Aston Villa run the risk of sacrificing their precious defensive stability if they go ahead.
Quite rightly, Keith Wyness and a number of other key Villa Park figures have rubbished the talk of him being sold at the end of the season.
His talismanic contributions are sure to throw Aston Villa into contention at the top of the Championship table next season, should their late surge towards promotion this term fall short.
They simply cannot even think about pushing towards a summer sale for their £4million man.
In other Aston Villa news, Sam Johnstone to keep a clean sheet, and two others things expected to happen when Villa face QPR on Tuesday.