Gerrard Revives Nakamba

30 Nov, 2021 - 20:11 0 Views
Gerrard Revives Nakamba Marvelous Nakamba


Blessing Malinganiza, Sports Reporter

Prophets of doom had written off Marvelous Nakamba’s chances of featuring regularly for Aston Villa under new coach Steven Gerrard.

With little game time under the coach who brought him to Villa Park, Dean Smith, it was widely expected that the Gerrard would just confirm his departure as early as January next year.

Aston Villa sacked Smith a few weeks ago and swiftly moved in for then Rangers gaffer, Gerrard, to take over the hot seat.

But the Aston Villa and Warriors midfielder Nakamba, who joined the Premier League side in August 2019, has acquitted himself well since Gerrard’s arrival.

Gerrard himself has described Nakamba’s performances as “massive”, and rightly so.

Nakamba has played both games and stunned Villa fans by his performances, especially against Crystal Palace last weekend.

Curiously, Palace coach Patrick Vieira is an admirer of Nakamba, and last summer, he had enquired about the possibility of taking him to Selhurst Park Stadium.

Under Smith, Nakamba used to sit deep, disrupting play and shielding the defence.

He played in that position well but had limited opportunities as the coach preferred Brazilian, Douglas Luiz, to Nakamba.

But in the last two games, Nakamba seems to have been liberated by the coach as he is frequently seen in the 18 yard box.

Villa supporters, who had been contending with a difficult start to the season, are singing praises for Nakamba after two glorious performances under Gerrard.

The most excitable of the fans are already likening him to Chelsea midfield workhorse, N’golo Kante.

Others have gone on to say, “with Nakamba in your side, who needs Kante”.

Such is the rejuvenation that Nakamba has recorded since Gerrard’s arrival.

Against Crystal Palace last weekend, Nakamba received a 6,46 Infogol rating for his performances but others felt he was on 9 out of 10.

Aston Villa won the match 1-2 at Selhurst Park, allowing the team to win its second successive victory, for the first time for a new Villa coach since 1998.

Nakamba is naturally happy with his performances under Gerrard and would want to replicate them in many more matches.

“I’m really happy and proud of myself. I’m grateful to the coach and my teammates,” said the Hwange-born Nakamba in an exclusive interview with H-Metro Sport.

Asked if he was reading what fans are saying about him on social media platforms, Nakamba said: “Yes I’m seeing what people are saying on social media but I don’t want to focus on that too much.”

Aston Villa’s next match is against high-flying Manchester City at Villa Park.

It is definitely an acid test for the mini-recovery as City plunders many goals against perceived small teams.

But on current form, Villa can upset anyone and Nakamba is hopeful he will continue on his purple patch.

“I feel ready to take on any challenges at this point. The entire team is very confident and I am sure you have seen that in our performances.

“My wish is that we rake up up more wins at this stage so that we are always in the top half of the log,” said Nakamba.

He said winning back-to-back matches was “a really good feeling”.

Nakamba said he has enjoyed his game under the new coaches, who have been speaking to them about the philosophy they want the team to adopt.

“They want us to improve, they are on us every time, which is good. It helps us improve in a lot of things.

“So far, they have been really helpful in terms of making us believe and making us improve and trying our best in the aspects of where they think we are stronger in.

“They give us more options to improve our game,” said Nakamba.

It is obviously early days yet and only time will tell, how far Villa will go under Gerrard.

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