Talk about bad timing. After hammering Premier League champions Liverpool 7-2, the last thing Aston Villa would surely have wanted was an international break.
Dean Smith’s side would no doubt have been keen to keep riding the wave, but instead watched on as several of his key performers – including the likes of Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings to name but a couple – jet off to represent their countries.
Villa return to Premier League action on Sunday night, when they take on last season’s high-flyers Leicester, with the Foxes eager to be the team to snap the home side’s 100% start to the new season.
And whilst Jamie Vardy is likely to feature prominently in Smith’s team-talk before the game – rightly so given his goal-scoring exploits – there is one man who Villa cannot afford to let go under the radar: Timothy Castagne.
Leicester’s summer signing has started like a house on fire for his new side, even scoring on his debut in a 3-0 victory over newly-promoted West Brom at the Hawthorns.
That performance led Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers to wax lyrical about his latest charge, saying: “I’ve watched him for a number of years in wanting to sign him. He’s a player that fits the profile of how I want to work, he’s very fast, he’s non-stop running, he gets forward and wants to score goals as a full-back.
“But importantly, he can defend. He’s aggressive, got good composure and he’s a brilliant signing for us.”
Castagne’s ability to be a major factor at both ends of the pitch makes him a concern for Smith and his men, and it will likely be Matt Targett who is charged with stopping the Belgium international’s forays.
But simply leaving Targett to deal with a runner like Castagne would be setting him up to fail, and if Jack Grealish gets the nod to start from the left-hand side rather than more centrally, then the Villa talisman will have to do his job to ensure the home side don’t get caught out in the wide areas.
Vardy may be the obvious danger, but Villa need to be aware of Castagne too.
And in other news, Villa must surely regret seeing this star leave.