Aston Villa defender Diego Carlos is reportedly set to resume training with the rest of the group again later this week as he steps up his recovery.
The 29-year-old has been sidelined since August after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in just his second competitive appearance for Villa, and he has certainly been a big miss given the important role he was expected to play in defence.
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His road to recovery has been long and no doubt difficult, but according to The Athletic, he is now on the verge of taking one of the more important late steps towards making a return to the pitch.
It’s reported that Carlos will resume group training this week as he is now considered to be in the final stages of his recovery, and so it’s hoped that he gets through that with no setbacks now and is able to build his fitness to a point where he gets back into contention to feature in the side.
Getting out on the grass and training alongside his teammates will undoubtedly be a big moment for the Brazilian, both mentally as well as in terms of being a crucial step towards a return.
Given how long he’s been sidelined for, the expectation is that we won’t rush that final process, and while ideally he’ll get minutes off the bench initially, it could also be worth giving him game-time for the U21s too in order to gain match fitness and sharpness.
Even if Carlos requires more time to get back to his top condition, the option that he will provide will be important for us given the lack of quality depth and competition in the centre-half positions.
Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have remained the first-choice pairing, but as we saw last weekend against Man City, we struggle in the absence of Mings and Calum Chambers found it tough to step in and deputise.
In turn, Carlos returning will be a huge boost for Emery, not only in terms of what he provides defensively with his aggressive and physical style, but also his composure on the ball to help us play out from the back and that makes him a player that fits the identity of the side, provided that he can return to his pre-injury levels of form.