Aston Villa have suffered a setback in their pre-season preparations, with defender Kortney Hause set to be absent for an extended period of time.
As per the Express and Star, the 26-year-old recently underwent surgery for a ‘minor operation on his right knee’ and is now expected to be absent for around four to six weeks, essentially ruling him out of the club’s summer schedule.
That absence could also make him a doubt for the start of the new Premier League campaign, which kicks off for the Midlands outfit on 6 August away to Bournemouth, leaving Steven Gerrard with a potential shortage of centre-back options for that trip to the Vitality Stadium.
The Liverpool legend will seemingly head into pre-season without the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man and fellow defender Ezri Konsa in tow, the latter set to be absent until early September after sustaining a knee injury of his own in May against Crystal Palace.
Although the Villa manager will still have Calum Chambers and Tyrone Mings to call upon, along with summer signing Diego Carlos, it is far from an ideal circumstance to head into a new campaign without a full complement of players, with the 42-year-old seemingly praying for no further injury woes in the coming weeks.
In the case of Hause, the former England under-21 international – who has been linked with an exit from the club – may not have been a regular starter a Villa Park since his move (initially on loan) from Molineux in 2019, although the £25k-per-week colossus has proven himself a valuable squad asset in that time.
He has scored four goals in 55 appearances in all competitions in that time, notably netting a late winner in the 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford back in September, having featured on the left of a back three in that clash.
While he has largely had to play second fiddle over the past three seasons, he could well take on a more prominent role amid doubts over the futures of both Mings and Konsa, hence the further frustration for all concerned that the 26-year-old won’t be able to showcase his talent in pre-season.
“He always looks so assured now this season, and physically, he just dominates players, he’s got the pace.”
That glowing assessment illustrates the scale of the 6 foot 3 brute’s talent, and both he and his manager will no doubt frustrated that he won’t be able to demonstrate that quality in Gerrard’s first full pre-season at the helm of Aston Villa.