Aston Villa are currently in the international break but have one eye on the Second City Derby. Dean Smith has planned the perfect Friday for his players who are not on national team duty.
Aston Villa are currently having as many as 12 senior squad players out on international duty. While all of us fans despise the breakage spanning over a lengthy period of two weeks, it gives the teams time to ease off their busy schedules and focus on areas of improvements and also get a better outlook of their next opponents, especially when they are Birmingham City in the Clarets and Blues’ case.
Dean Smith has planned a closed door friendly match at the Bodymoor Heath on Friday, November 16 and the likes of Henri Lansbury, James Bree and Anwar El Ghazi are all expected to feature. The basic idea of the 47 year old is to give the fringe and younger players some exposure to the pitch and playing time as well as get a better insight of their game in an 11v11 setting.
The 47 year old has started to turn a corner at the Villa Park since arriving and that was visible when his side claimed all three points on the road against Bolton Wanderers by winning 3-0 ahead of the international break. Despite choosing a lesser number of players to feature, Smith has always highlighted how important it is for every player to feel important for the entire unit’s success.
"“The performance at Derby on Saturday is not just from the 11 who played or the subs who came on, it is from training every day and the whole squad. The likes of Henri, James Bree and Anwar have upped the training sessions and that is what makes the squad better.”"
Since taking over the job from Steve Bruce, Dean Smith has been jubilant with the way the players have welcomed him and his assistants Richard O’Kelly and John Terry. He also stated that the squad is turning him into a better coach as he seeks to start an upward surge for Aston Villa and take them into the Premier League next season, though chances seemed bleak when he took over.
"“They are very good players. What they are doing at the moment is testing myself, John and Rich because they are good players and take on information very quickly and become tactically astute much quicker. We are having to come up with sessions which are going to test them and make them better. It’s a two-fold thing. We are trying to make them better and invest time in them. They are making us better, that is for sure.”"