Through no fault of his own Tommy Elphick may have just hit form at the wrong time for Aston Villa.
He had to overcome a multitude of barriers and circumstances to play for the club again. Only through injuries to Samba, Terry and a failed experiment with Jedinak at centre back has Steve Bruce reluctantly played him.
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A lot of players would respond badly to that level of exclusion but Elphick took his chance and made Bruce look unwise for not including him sooner.
The reason I think this resurrection of Elphick is badly timed is due to the impending return of John Terry to the squad. Terry is pencilled in to return this weekend against Peterborough in the FA Cup.
I imagine after that Terry will be restored alongside James Chester in the heart of the defence. The defender does not deserve to be dropped for his performances. They have been far more than fans expected of a player expected to leave last summer.
Bruce clearly still doesn’t rate Elphick as he mentioned in his pre-Middlesbrough interview that he was only in the team due to Glenn Whelan being unwell. This meant that Jedinak would have been back in defence instead of Elphick had Whelan been fit and healthy.
Elphick’s performance is even better because he played with passion and skill despite not being rated by his manager. It wouldn’t have done his confidence any good at all but he has definitely proved to Bruce and the fans at Villa that he’s good enough to play for the club this season.
Money is in short supply this transfer window. The forthcoming return from injury for Terry and Samba might signal to Elphick that he is fighting a losing battle. He may still be surplus to requirements at Villa Park. Therefore, it might benefit both parties if he was to move on.
However, Aston Villa would be losing a model professional and a great team player.