Thursday, January 27, 2022

Aston Villa Target Suffers Serious Injury While On International Duty: What Should Be Gerrard’s Play?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

Football Australia has confirmed on their official website that Aston Villa target and Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar has suffered a serious injury while on international duty. It has been revealed that the Potters star has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier versus Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

Souttar’s Impressive Form For Stoke City Prior To His Injury

His recent injury will be an unfortunate setback for the talented defender after he made a solid start to this campaign as he produced a handful of dominant displays at the centre of Stoke City’s defence. Souttar has made 18 appearances for the Potters this season, scoring one goal in the process across all fronts.

The ex-Dundee United youngster has been a rock at the back for Michael O’Neill’s side based on his average of 1.8 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 5.7 clearances per game in the EFL Championship. The 23-year-old has even distributed possession with a lot of conviction as he has completed 82.4% of his attempted passes in the English second division (stats via whoscored).

Aston Villa (Harry Souttar)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 11: Harry Souttar of Australia looks dejected after being stretchered from the field during the FIFA World Cup AFC Asian Qualifier match between the Australia Socceroos and Saudi Arabia at CommBank Stadium on November 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency:
Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/)
Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

What Should Be Aston Villa Boss Steven Gerrard’s Play?

Souttar can time his tackles well to earn the ball back for his side on the defensive third of the pitch. He is usually a composed presence on the ball but is not afraid to clear his lines when needed. Standing at 2.01m, the Australia international is a towering presence inside his half and wins a major share of aerial duels because of his size and strength. He can even pass the ball well out from the back but is still quite inexperienced at the highest level.

At 23, the Aberdeen-born defensive ace will only get better with each season. However, his latest injury setback will no doubt hamper his progress at the bet365 Stadium. Hence, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard would have no choice but to opt for another defender if he intends to strengthen his squad this winter.

The best move for the Villans would be to keep tabs on Souttar’s recovery before deciding whether they want to move in for him at the end of this campaign. Even then, Gerrard would be wise to go for a proven centre-back with Premier League experience when the transfer window commences this January.

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