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‘Best player’ – Villa boss Smith praises 26-year-old; why he is crucial to club avoiding the drop

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has heaped praise on defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba after his impressive performance against Leicester City on Monday night.

Villa are going through a tough campaign where they are placed in the relegation zone with just 25 points after 28 matches, three away from safety.

Things got even more complicated for Villa earlier this week as they suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat against third-placed Leicester in their most-recent Premier League fixture

Smith conceded that his team did not have a good day but heaped praise on Nakamba by calling him the visitors’ ‘best player’ on the night.

“One of our biggest disappointments today was that we gave away the ball too often,” he said as per

“Probably with the exception of Marvelous [Nakamba] who I thought was our best player on the night.”

The Zimbabwe international has joined Villa in the summer of 2019 from the Belgian outfit Club Brugge after the Midlands outfit were promoted from the Championship.

Since then, the 26-year-old has represented his current club in 26 matches in all competitions where he has not managed to score a goal or provide an assist.

An important man for the rest of the season?

While Nakamba has not been guaranteed a starting berth in the Villa team this term, his performance on Monday night will show Smith that he can be a key figure in the club’s hopes of avoiding the drop.

Danny Drinkwater was an unused substitute on the night and the African enforcer’s performance could well limit the England international’s opportunities further.

Villa are up against Chelsea next and will hope that a positive result can be the catalyst for a move up the table.

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