Ahead of the Premier League clash against Leeds United on Saturday afternoon, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has confirmed that Bjorn Engels has been passed fit.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference before the game against Leeds, Smith confirmed: “Bjorn Engels had a back spasm last week, that’s why he was off the bench but he’s fine.”
While Engels’ return is hardly game-changing for Villa given how Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have firmly established themselves as the club’s first-choice centre-back partnership, the big Belgian’s fitness should come as a welcome relief for Smith.
With Engels ruled out against Leicester last week, Villa were left without a single centre-back option in the bench, and given how the Midlands club have just begin to suffer some injury problems recently with the likes of Jack Grealish and Matty Cash, Smith would no doubt have been praying that nothing happened to his defenders.
Villa are very much in the race for a Europa League and even Champions League place next season – they find themselves just nine points off fourth-placed West Ham but with two games in hand – and so any injuries now take a much more significant meaning.
Given the club’s lack of real depth in central defence, even having someone like the 6 foot 3 Engels out for an extended period of time – who hasn’t played for the club since March 2020 due to injury and the form of others – would be a massive blow.
It’s exactly why news that the £55k-a-week earning ace will be fit to take his place on the bench once again will have Smith with one less thing to worry about as Villa look to cap off a real statement season.