Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has suffered a setback ahead of the new Premier League campaign, and it’s one that will have him worried.
The likes of Jack Grealish, Tyrone Mings, Douglas Luiz and Emi Martinez have enjoyed superb runs on international duty with England, Brazil and Argentina respectively, with the four involved in the European Championship and Copa America finals.
The Express and Star’s Matt Maher had initially revealed: “The quartet will be given a sufficient break to recover once their involvement in the international summer has concluded.
“It means Grealish, Mings and Martinez are unlikely to report back until toward the end of the month, though midfielder Luiz is not expected back until August and will likely miss the start of the season, after being selected for Brazil’s Olympics squad. Boss Dean Smith was keen to give his players as much recovery time as possible after completing the most congested season in Premier League history.”
Since that report on July 3rd, England, Argentina and Brazil have all reached the finals of their respective competitions, and thus now won’t finish their international duties until the end of this weekend.
If you were going to name a top four or five of the most important Villa players, then the likes of Grealish, Martinez and Mings would surely feature on that list.
Grealish, in particular, has already proven what a big miss he is for Smith’s side, with the Midlands club winning just three of the 12 Premier League games that he was out for during the closing couple of months of last season.
And, after hearing the news, former Premier League goalkeeper Paddy Kenny said: “If you don’t give them time to recuperate, they could break down, you could see them miss a longer period rather than just having to miss a game or two.
“The sports science department will have it all planned out. You do need that two or three weeks break though. I’d be surprised if they don’t get that off.”
Being without your club captain, and your number one goalkeeper, who coincidentally Lionel Messi just called a “phenomenon“, is a massive blow. Then add to that losing Mings who is one half of Villa’s tried and trusted back-line alongside Ezri Konsa, and a virtual ever-present in Luiz, and you’ve got a recipe for a early season disaster.
It’s exactly why Smith will be worried about them missing the majority, if not all of pre-season, and them possibly not being ready for the the start of the new campaign too.