Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
TO get a rough idea of how good, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith believes Marvelous Nakamba is, one has to look at the talented Brazilian the Zimbabwean has replaced in the team’s midfield.
Douglas Luiz, the 21-year-old Brazil Under-23 captain, featured in Villa’s first English Premier League matches, and scored a goal, before being pushed onto the bench in the Monday Night football battle against West Ham.
Nakamba was thrown into his place, in the starting XI, with the Brazilian coming in to replace the Zimbabwean in the final 10 minutes of that goalless match.
However, against Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday, Luiz was left out of the squad with Nakamba again preferred for a place in the starting XI.
“I had a decision to make,” Smith said in his post-match interview on Twitter. “Trezeguet came back and I’ve got Conor (Hourihane), Henri (Lansbury) and Douglas.
“I was pleased with Marvelous’ (Nakamba) performance against West Ham United and I just felt I didn’t need three midfielders on the bench, I needed Keinan Davis and Jota on there as well.’’
Luiz joined Manchester City from Brazilian club Vasco da Gama three years ago, but after being frustrated by work permit issues and a failure to break into the first team, he was loaned to Spanish side Girona where he enjoyed two successful spells.
That alerted Villa and Smith said he went for him after City manager, Pep Guardiola, had spoken highly of the Brazilian.
“He’s Pep’s loss and my gain,’’ Smith told BirminghamLive.
“I met Pep at the League Managers’ meeting and he spoke to me then, he was very disappointed they couldn’t get that work permit.
“Pep said, ‘You’ve got a really good lad there’. There is no better endorsement for the boy.”
Guardiola said the Brazilian midfielder had immense talent.
“It’s difficult for me to understand,” he told reporters. “For one guy who doesn’t see the player and is not every day in the training session he has to judge.
“(Douglas) has ability, quality to play and we decide he can play. I accept the rules but I don’t understand, anyone in the world can work where he wants.
“The national manager for Brazil (Tite) and myself we know more than the guys who decide he is not able to play.”
Now, in the last two league matches, that outstanding Brazilian talent has been kept out of the Villa side by Nakamba.