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Aston Villa: Steven Gerrard must drop Anwar El Ghazi vs Brighton

After taking over from Dean Smith during the international break, new Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard will take charge of his first game when Brighton come to town on Saturday afternoon.

The 41-year-old will have some big calls to make in terms of naming his first starting line-up, and one man who must surely be dropped is Anwar El Ghazi.

The Dutchman was recalled to the first-team fold against Southampton in Smith’s last game in charge of the club just before the international break, but delivered a woeful performance which was rather summed up by his awful attempt to try and win a penalty.

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Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave him a measly two, saying: “Should have had an early bath after his 11th-minute booking before another clear foul and then a dive. Livramento wouldn’t have had an easier game this season.

“El Ghazi kept losing the ball while he spurned a golden chance after Livramento slipped before firing high and wide. El Ghazi struck a powerful one which was tipped over by McCarthy after the break as Villa initially went to a 4-4-2. Poor on his return to the starting XI.”

He has played just six times in the Premier League this season and hasn’t completed the full 90 minutes since the 1-1 draw against Brentford in late August, which has been an indication of how far he’s fallen down the pecking order at Villa Park.

Before he was brought on against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in mid-October, he was an unused substitute for the previous five top-flight games, even with the injuries to both Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore.

With reports in recent weeks and months already indicating that Villa would be open to selling the winger, the £8.5m-rated Dutchman simply must be taken out of the line-up for the clash against Brighton.

His performance against Southampton was the latest in a series of disappointing displays this term, with just the one top-flight goal to his name.

Gerrard must make a ruthless call and drop him from the team to take on Brighton on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Villa must finally sign this long-term transfer target…

Article title: Aston Villa: Steven Gerrard must drop Anwar El Ghazi vs Brighton

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