Aston Villa and Belgium midfielder Leander Dendoncker is not expected to start in tonight’s Premier League clash with Southampton.
That is according to the Birmingham Mail’s Villa correspondent Ashley Preece, who was speaking on the Claret & Blue podcast, ahead of this evening’s fixture with the Saints.
Dendoncker arrived at Villa from West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers for a fee of £13m on deadline day, but didn’t make the matchday squad for the following weekend’s clash with Manchester City, due to a throat issue.
But following an almost two-week break, the 27-year-old is expected to be part of the squad that welcomes Southampton to Villa Park this evening.
However, Preece doesn’t expect Dendoncker to start in this evening’s clash with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side.
“So, he’ll be back in contention, don’t expect him to start, because I think Villa want to be on the front foot and on the attack more than they did against [Manchester] City,” Preece told the Claret & Blue podcast.
TIF Thoughts on Preece’s comments
We think that Villa fans will be delighted that Dendoncker could potentially make his debut tonight, albeit likely from the substitutes bench.
Preece’s comments would suggest that the 29-time Belgium international’s best chance of an appearance tonight will be in the late stages of the game, if Steven Gerrard’s side are hoping to close a potential victory out.
Therefore, we agree with Preece and think that Dendoncker’s best chance of a start may come in the club’s first game after the international break when the West Midlands side travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds United.