Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa has recovered from his knee injury and could feature against Brisbane Roar on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old sustained the setback in the back-end of last season and has spent the summer working on his recovery and stepping up his rehabilitation.
While Villa boss Steven Gerrard initially noted in the days following the setback that he was expecting Konsa back in August, it appears as though the centre-half will return ahead of schedule and will hope to get minutes during the pre-season tour of Australia.
“He’s back,” Gerrard said, as per BirminghamLive. “The rehab’s done. He trained fully with the team yesterday (Saturday) for the first time. He’ll continue to train and prepare and he’ll be available for selection against Brisbane Roar in the middle of the week.”
That will be a welcome boost for Villa as Konsa will now get valuable minutes to build his fitness and hopefully be ready for our Premier League season opener against Bournemouth on August 6, and he’ll undoubtedly be relieved as returning later would have seen him drop down the pecking order.
Importantly, it gives Gerrard another option in that department as Konsa will compete with Tyrone Mings and Diego Carlos for a starting spot in our defence, and although he had a dip in form last season, there is a strong case to suggest that he could form half of our best pairing as this campaign progresses if he can return to his best.
That in turn gives Gerrard an almost fully-fit squad to select from, and while it remains to be seen if we bring in any further new signings this summer, he’ll be delighted if he can keep everyone healthy and reach their peak condition in time for next month.
Villa made it two wins on the bounce in pre-season after a 1-0 victory over Leeds Utd on Sunday, and so with the expectation that Gerrard will make numerous changes and rotate, Konsa could even come in as part of that and get at least 45 minutes under his belt having put himself in contention to feature.