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Aston Villa must unleash Diego Carlos under Emery’s tutelage

Aston Villa have been sweating over the fitness of star summer signing Diego Carlos ever since the centre-back ruptured his achilles tendon in August, just a few games into his Villa career.

What’s the latest?

While a return is still some distance away, the 29-year-old colossus has impressed fans with the swiftness of his recovery, posting Instagram videos of him lifting weights and strengthening his legs with squats; encouraging signs indeed.

Speaking to Villa TV (via Birmingham Live), Carlos said: “I’m happy, everyday I have work, my body is very good, it’s better, I needed to train on the bike and the work, the physio. It’s very good for me because I needed to improve the work and the mobility. It’s been very, very good.

“Before I didn’t need a long time but now it is necessary, the time. I try hard work every day with the physio, Oli (Stevenson) and everybody.”

With a timeframe on a return still uncertain, it will at least be relieving to see the ace return to the field in some capacity.

He will flourish under Emery

One positive that can be taken by the extensive layoff is Claret and Blue boss Unai Emery‘s arrival, with the sagacious Spaniard tinkering away at the side and looking to stamp his print onto the fold.

And despite a severely lacklustre start to the campaign that resulted in Steven Gerrard’s dismissal, three wins from the past four appearances indicate an upward twist in the trajectory at the club.

Who should partner Diego Carlos at centre-back?

Tyrone Mings

Tyrone Mings

Ezri Konsa

Ezri Konsa

And with the January transfer window merely moments away, there is cautious optimism that fortunes can turn around at Villa Park sooner rather than later; subsequently, Carlos might just be able to slot back into a thriving team upon his return, and he could prove to be the icing on the cake.

Over his first two appearances in Villa colours, Carlos completed an average of 80% of his passes, claiming a valuable victory against Everton in his second outing and averaging 70 touches across his two displays.

It might not be the largest pool of games to choose from but it is already enough for teammate Ollie Watkins to call him a “monster.”

But it is his form over in Spain that will spark the brightest excitement, with the £26m arrival playing a pivotal role in claiming the 2019/20 Europa League trophy with Sevilla.

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And last season, in the Spanish La Liga, the titan recorded an average rating of 7.09 in a campaign that saw his team finish fourth, clinching qualification to the Champions League.

His 3.5 clearances and 1.0 tackles per match were paramount for his team’s success, where he also won 60% of his duels and completed a remarkable 88% of his passes.

His ball-playing prowess and aggression is sorely lacking in the current crop, and his return to first-team competitive action cannot come soon enough for Emery, who he might just soar under.