Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard may have to turn to a rarely-seen player as the injuries mount up in the Midlands…
According to reports in France, first-choice left-back Lucas Digne is set to be sidelined for the next two-to-three weeks after suffering an ankle problem that was first thought to be a stress fracture, something that would rule him out for at least six weeks.
Former Villans forward Gabby Agbonlahor agreed with Football Insider that the Frenchman’s absence would be a major blow to the team and the manager.
Whilst this news comes as a positive heading into the weekend’s Premier League clash with Leeds United, his absence combined with the likelihood of Matty Cash missing out too, would mean the Villa boss is rather light on options in defence.
It means he could turn to yet-to-play summer arrival Ludwig Augustinsson, who arrived as sporting director Johan Lange’s fifth of seven signings, on loan from LaLiga side Sevilla.
The 28-year-old has been named on the bench in all seven of Villa’s top-flight outings but is yet to be handed his debut.
However, he has kept his place in Sweden’s squad and not only featured during the international break but also excelled, with his recent appearance in their 1-1 draw with Slovenia.
He registered a whopping 100 touches of the ball, which highlights the trust that his national team head coach, Jan Andersson, has in him to be a big influence and a creator, having also made one key pass. Augustinsson also won 100% of his aerial duels, too, as per SofaScore.
The former Werder Bremen ace seems to excel defensively as he still ranks within the top 5% of his positional peers across Europe’s elite divisions for clearances (2.98 per 90), as well as the top 8% for headers won (2.35 per 90), via FBref.
Therefore, it would be wise for Gerrard to hand the “impressive” Augstinsson, as once described by journalist Phillip O’Connor, his Villa debut this weekend as he is woefully light on choices in the full-back department and it’s an area that Leeds could well exploit, given the talents of Brenden Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra, among others.