This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Against Wolves on Sunday, Ezri Konsa stepped into Aston Villa’s starting XI for the first time in the Premier League since joining in a £12m deal from Brentford, and the centre-back’s assured performance can unquestionably be viewed as a source of optimism if Bjorn Engels is expected to be out for an extended period.
Konsa being named in Dean Smith’s first-choice XI may have come as a surprise to some given an injury to Engels had not been alluded to in any pre-match discussion, but the 22-year-old has done no harm to his already growing reputation in B6 following an impressive display.
In total, Konsa’s combination of crosses, blocks and interceptions (CBI) totalled four – only behind Mings from Villa’s defensive options, highlighting the centre-back’s impressive display whilst starting for the first time in the league.
With a pass success rate of 82%, the defender also showed his capability on the ball – a vital element of Smith’s philosophy to play out from the back and incorporate both Villa’s attack and defence in their overall play.
Although the former Brentford player was unable to ensure his side gained a clean-sheet, injuries to Jed Steer rocked Villa’s plans from the outset at Molineux, and there can be no doubting that alongside the injury to captain Jack Grealish, Smith was unable to field a first-choice XI for the West Midlands clash.
But despite that, Konsa’s performance was unquestionably a positive element of an otherwise disappointing defeat, and should Engels’ absence from Villa’s starting line-up continue, both Smith and the Villa faithful can be assured that their £12m man is more than capable of stepping up to the plate.