The Aston Villa players still to play for their countries before Premier League returns
The second international break of the season is almost at its end.
It seems a long time since Aston Villa put in that five-star performance away to Norwich City, but it is not long to wait until Dean Smith’s men are back in action.
Brighton & Hove Albion are the visitors to Villa Park on Saturday, October 19, with a number of players having come back from international duty.
Plenty have already been in action – with more to come over the next few days.
Here, we give Villa fans a rundown of who’s on international duty, the games played, the games to come and who was back at the club’s Bodymoor Heath base.
Smith’s first Villa signing, Kalinic has become somewhat of a forgotten figure in B6 and hasn’t played a competitive game for Villa since February. He’s back in the Croatian side, though, and will be understudy to Dinamo Zagreb’s Dominik Livakovic.
Games: Wales (Sunday, October 13)
The 29-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged career at Villa to date and last played for Dean Smith against Preston on December 29, 2018. He’ll link up with the Norway squad for tough encounters against Spain and Romania.
Games: Romania (Tuesday, October 15)
Taylor has been an ever-present for Wales coach Ryan Giggs. The 30-year-old lost his place to Ben Davis for Wales’ 1-0 win over Belarus last time out.
Games: Croatia (Sunday, October 13)
Yet to make his England debut despite being in Southgate’s squad for the second-successive time. Will be pushing for a start given Michael Keane’s indifferent form of late. Joe Gomez is back, though, and could yet be the preferred choice to partner Harry Maguire.
Games: Bulgaria (Monday, October 14)
Country: Brazil under-23s
The Brazilian flew off on Monday to join up with the under-23 national side ahead of two scheduled friendlies four days apart. The 21-year-old played against Chile during the last international break and it didn’t do him any favours as he lost his starting place for Villa to Marvelous Nakamba who, according to Smith, was fresher out of the two for the West Ham game.
Games: Japan (Monday, October 14)
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The Premier League player of the month nominee will once again don the dark blue of Scotland and will be hoping for better luck given how the Tartan Army have lost their last three games. McGinn scored against Russia previously but, somehow, lost his place in the Scotland XI against Belgium. Let’s hope Villa’s most important player comes back unscathed.
Games: San Marino (Sunday, October 13)
Country: Republic of Ireland
Played in back-to-back games for Mick McCarthy last time out against Switzerland and Bulgaria, the latter at left-back would you believe.
Games: Switzerland (Tuesday, October 15)
The winger will link up with his Villa teammate Elmo for a training camp ahead of Sunday’s friendly. Mo Salah has been exempted in order to rest so it means Trezeguet is likely to start. The minutes will be welcome, though, having not started a Villa game since Brighton a fortnight ago.
Games: Botswana (Sunday, October 13)
Jonathan Kodjia and Marvelous Nakamba
Jonathan Kodjia is not in the Ivory Coast squad for their upcoming friendly with DR Congo. The striker is fit again after breaking his cheekbone during a freak accident head clash with Marvelous Nakamba at Bodymoor Heath. Villa will no doubt be arranging a behind-closed-doors game throughout the international period to help the likes of Kodjia and James Chester build up their match fitness.
Elsewhere, Nakamba looks set to stay in Birmingham as FIFA are yet to confirm a friendly match involving Zimbabwe. The Warriors are scheduled to play Lesotho, a country within the South African border, in a second-leg African Nations Cup tie.
Robson Sharuko, a journalist with The Herald in Zimbabwe, informed BirminghamLive: “Even if FIFA came up with an opponent, they can’t get the foreign players like Nakamba because club’s need two weeks request for their release.”
The first-team squad back at Bodymoor
Goalkeepers: Jed Steer, Tom Heaton
Defenders: James Chester, Ezri Konsa, Matt Targett, Bjorn Engels, Frederic Guilbert, Kortney Hause, Ahmed Elmohamady
Midfielders: Marvelous Nakamba, Henri Lansbury, Jack Grealish, Anwar El Ghazi, Jota
Strikers: Wesley, Jonathan Kodjia, Keinan Davis