Tough season ahead for Nakamba

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BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
WARRIORS midfielder Marvelous Nakamba could find it difficult to get game time at his English Premier League side, Aston Villa this season following the acquisition of exciting French midfielder Boubakar Kamara during the summer transfer window.

Nakamba has been conspicuous by his absence in Villa’s last two matches of their preseason tour to Australia as they beat Brisbane Roar 1-0 and staged a memorable comeback to draw 2-2 with Manchester United.

The 28-year-old midfielder, who spent most of the summer in Zimbabwe doing charity work through his Marvelous Nakamba Foundation, only made 16 appearances in the league last season because of a knee injury.

This season, Nakamba was looking to build on the trust he was shown by coach Steven Gerrard before he got injured, but the Liverpool legend has publicly declared the intention to challenge for European places this season and that Kamara will command a starting berth this season.

“We want to be one of those teams that try to upset the natural dynamics of the Premier League. If that means we snatch a European place, fantastic, because we’ve got to reach for the stars. But the minimum for me is we’ve got to be operating in the top-half of the league,” he told journalists ahead of Saturday’s draw with Manchester United.

“There was no point in me trying to recruit players that were going to make us stand still and I didn’t want to recruit players just to add to the numbers. I wanted to make players that were good enough for the XI, to make a difference.

“Diego (Carlos) is going to be a really big man and a leader for us at the back. You can see that straight away and Kamara’s going to give us style, he’s going to give us a passing range that I didn’t feel we had,” Gerrard added.

Aston Villa have also signed defender Carlos from Sevilla for a deal that could be worth £30 million.

Gerrard is also understood to be interested in signing another midfielder depending on the futures of Douglas Luiz and Carney Chukwuemeka, who are into the final seasons of their contracts.

Nakamba played 45 minutes in Aston Villa’s 4-0 win over Walsall on July 9 and another 45 minutes in their 1-0 win over Leeds United on July 17.

But Gerrard opted for John McGinn and Kamara in midfield against Brisbane Roar before replacing them with Tim Iroegbunam and Douglas Luiz after the break.

Jacob Ramsey, McGinn and Kamara were preferred against United, while Luiz, Iroegbunam and Morgan Sanson made substitute appearances in the centre of the park.

Aston Villa will begin their Premier League campaign away at returnees Bournemouth on August 6 before they host Everton at Villa Park the following week.

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