Since the English Premier League retuned from a three-month Covid-19 enforced break, Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has not started a single game for Aston Villa.

In the three games the Claret and Blue have played; against Sheffield United, Chelsea and Newcastle, the former Club Brugge man has come on as a second half substitute.

Him not being in Dean Smith’s starting eleven has evidently irked local fans and the analysis in the Birmingham Mail can provide a clue as to why the Villa coach has not started him.

A rejuvenated Douglas Luiz has impressed not only Smith but even club Correspondent Ashley Preece and that could be reason why he (Luiz) has been preferred ahead of Nakamba.

“Since Aston Villa have returned to Premier League action, Douglas Luiz has barely missed a beat.

The Brazilian playmaker – through the three games of the return – has been nothing less than a linchpin for the side, and has shined.

While Luiz has impressed before – spots of inconsistency and a perceived ‘soft touch’ when in possession seemed to hold him back. It appeared that Luiz would be caught on the ball all too often.

However, the player that has returned from the enforced break is one that is smarter, fitter and sharper. A fully aware Luiz has become the first-name on the team sheet for Dean Smith – who is more than aware of the progression Luiz has made,” read part of the article in yesterday’s edition of the publication.

On who should start against Wolves today when Villa resume their relagation battle, Preece, in a seperate article noted: “In midfield, Douglas Luiz will get the chance to continue his fine form after a new lease of life. The Brazilian has been immaculate since his return and will no doubt anchor the midfield once again. Next to him, John McGinn will get another start alongside possibly Hourihane.”

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