Kevin Phillips has backed Danny Drinkwater to come good for Aston Villa, despite his early struggles at the club, as reported by Football Insider.
The 29-year-old, who is spending the second half of the season on loan at Villa Park from Chelsea, has not had the greatest of starts.
His poor form has already seen some fans annoyed about his inclusions in the team, as was highlighted prior to the match against Tottenham Hotspur.
While Phillips appreciated Drinkwater hasn’t been at his best, he backed the former England international to come good for Dean Smith: “It has been tough, I felt like the crowd were getting on his back early doors. I thought it was very strange when he got chucked in for his first game against Manchester City because he has not played consistently for a long time.
“I know Danny well, I have coached him and played with him and we all forget it was only two or three years ago he was an England international.
“He just looks rusty but there is a player in there. Unfortunately, it is going to get highlighted more because of where Villa are in the league.
“There is more to come from him but Danny is going to have to step up to the plate pretty quick. You can tell by his body language he is disappointed but knowing the kid he will be working hard.”
It is undoubted that he has found it tough to keep up since joining Villa, as is perhaps best shown by the fact that in his four games he averaged 1.3 tackles per game but was dribbled past 4 times.
As mentioned by Phillips, he needs to improve quickly if he is to help the club stay in the Premier League, but there is a sign that his quality remains, as he has a pass success rate of 82.1%, showing that he still has the accuracy to keep the ball and potentially make things happen.
While there is little chance of him reigniting the form that saw him become a Champions League midfielder at Leicester City, it should be noted that just three years ago he was averaging 2.3 tackles compared to being dribbled past 1.3 times per game in Europe’s flagship competition.
This should provide hope that while Drinkwater hasn’t been at his greatest, he can become an asset for Villa’s survival hopes in the remainder of the season – even if it may take some time for him to get there.