Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
. . . Villa shortlist Warrior for poll
ASTON Villa on Monday night picked Marvelous Nakamba among the contenders for the club’s man-of-the-match award after their eventful 0-0 Premier League encounter against West Ham.
It was Nakamba debut in the English Premiership and becomes the fourth Zimbabwean to feature in arguably the world’s popular domestic league.
The 25-year-old joins the league of Peter Ndlovu, Bruce Grobbelaar and Benjani Mwaruwari.
Villa picked Nakamba, John McGinn, Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels as the outstanding players and created a poll on Twitter to allow their fans to vote.
“It’s time to pick your MOTM from last night’s clash,” tweeted Villa with a picture collage of the quartet.
The development meant Nakamba, who was deployed on the defensive midfield role, put up a good show, which has also seen some fans praising the Zimbabwean midfielder.
BirminghamLive reporter Ashley Preece rated Nakamba the second best on the pitch for Villa giving him 7/10.
“Started off neat and tidy but misplaced the odd pass which drew groans from the Villa Park supporters. Grew into the game. Just pass him the mop and bucket, he cleared away danger all evening long and looks more of an assured anchorman than Douglas Luiz in just one showing.
“Has more of a stature and really balanced. Very one-footed but looks effortless when pivoting on his left before making a simple pass. Really liked him in there, strong Premier League debut against some top operators,” reported BirminghamLive.
In another report, Preece described Nakamba as a smooth operator after his EPL debut.
“The 25-year-old sat in front of the back four and enjoyed a lot of early touches of the football which would have no doubt calmed his nerves. He looks a really smooth operator, all left foot but ice-cool on the ball, often pivoting in the anchorman role while keeping it simple with his range of passing.
“He looks – and is – more defensively-minded than Brazilian Douglas Luiz. The summer signing has a spring in his step as well and looks mobile. He faded in the second half which is understandable given his last outing came against Crewe Alexandra in the cup a month ago. Villa look much more balanced with him in the side – gave Grealish and McGinn more of a licence to get forward, too,” wrote Preece.
Coach Dean Smith also hailed Nakamba’s performance saying he showed what he can bring to the club.
“Marvelous has been knocking on the door, he shows what he gives, he covers a lot of ground and learns really well,” said Dean.
Villa fans were also delighted by Nakamba’s performance as they also took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
“Thought Nakamba looked really impressive. So almost feel guilty voting for Engels. If I had 2 accounts, I would have given them 1 vote each,” @Michael76851525.
“A good start for him to the EPL, Marvelous,” @TitusChitsva.
“He was Marvelous on his Debut so it can only be Marvelous,” @ChichaPG.
“Nakamba was class imo . . . Debut nerves yeah but he put in some good challenges and played that dm role well,” @INathhh15.