Nakamba praised as Villa cruised to victory in first pre-season friendly


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Marvelous Nakamba featured in Aston Villa’s first pre-season friendly match on Saturday afternoon.

The Zimbabwean midfielder was in the first XI that started against English League Two side Walsall FC. The team had several fringe players but also consisted of other regulars from last season like captain Tyrone Mings, Bertrand Traoré and Leon Bailey.

New signing Diego Carlos also started in the match and was paired with Mings at the back.

Nakamba didn’t return for the second half as coach Steven Gerrard made nine changes.

Commenting on the performance of the Warriors star in the first half, Birmingham Mail‘s Aston Villa correspondent Ashley Preece wrote: “Delighted the Villa faithful with an uncharacteristic bit of show-boating, flicking the ball past two Walsall players. It was his usual industrious work from the Zimbabwean this afternoon. The midfielder will be an important player for Gerrard for the season ahead.”

Villa finished the game with a 4-0 victory, thanks to goals from Bailey and Cameron Archer in the first half and Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz in the second period.

The Birmingham-based outfit’s second friendly match will be against EPL rivals Manchester United on 23 June before rounding up the preparations versus French club Rennes seven days later.

Aston Villa will turn their focus 2022/23 campaign with a match against Bournemouth on 6 August.

The clash will see Nakamba facing his Warriors teammate Jordan Zemura in what could be a historic encounter.

If both players are in action, this would be the second time in the EPL era that two fully-capped Zimbabwean players are on opposite sides.

The other time this happened was in the mid-90s when Peter Ndlovu was at Coventry City while Bruce Grobbelaar had settled at Southampton.