Aston Villa boss Dean Smith faces a number of big decisions in these next few weeks, no more than picking which loan players will make his matchday squad.
The Midlands outfit have six players on loan at the club: Tammy Abraham, Anwar El Ghazi, Kortney Hause, Axel Tuanzebe, Tom Carroll and Tyrone Mings. But EFL rules state that you are only allowed a maximum of five in your 18 man squad [EFL’s official wesbsite].
Therefore, one of those individuals will have to make way and find themselves sitting out despite being fit and ready to prove their worth.
There is no chance that Chelsea loanee Abraham will miss out because he has been a regular member of the starting XI since and has scored 21 goals this season.
Winger Anwar El Ghazi netted his first goal since December last time out and has been Villa’s best performing wide player this term. Another player who can’t miss out.
Wolves loanee Kortney Hause has gone from strength to strength since breaking into the starting XI in February. Smith has utilised him as a left-back and as a centre-back. Another player who is too valuable to Smith’s backline.
Centre-back Axel Tuanzebe has been out of action since December because of an injury but he has returned to training in recent weeks.
Whilst Smith may stick with the back four that has done him proud in recent weeks, Tuanzebe may be the player that misses out in the final 18 because his manager could opt against rushing him back. But then again, he was the club’s best performing defender prior to his injury. Can’t be ignored and needs to play.
Tom Carroll. Yet to start for Villa and has not featured since coming off the bench during his side’s 4-0 win against Derby County at the start of the month.
Considering Smith has a number of midfield options to choose from, Swansea loanee Carroll could find himself dropping out altogether because he hasn’t featured enough for him to warrant a case to make the squad for matchdays.
Tyrone Mings. Simply put he has been Villa’s best player since he arrived at the club from Bournemouth in January. A man mountain who is now one of the first names on the teamsheet.