Aston Villa midfielder Morgan Sanson made his long-awaited return to first-team action this week, but a fresh injury blow comes as a bitterly disappointing setback.
The 27-year-old has been working hard since the end of last season on his recovery from a knee injury that subsequently forced him to miss a number of games in the latter stages of the campaign and the beginning of the current one.
Having steadily worked his way back with the U23s earlier this month, he was named in the Villa starting line-up against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, but his game lasted 42 minutes before he was forced off with a hamstring injury.
Visibly frustrated and upset as it became clear that he couldn’t continue, it was a gutting moment for the Frenchman and Villa fans, as he had in fact impressed during his time on the pitch.
From his ability to break things up in midfield as part of the deeper two-man midfield duo, to driving forward and feeding the ball into our attacking players to set up dangerous situations, he was showing all the positive signs that we wanted to see from him, albeit knowing that he was still lacking match fitness and sharpness.
Speaking a day after the game, Villa boss Dean Smith confirmed the disappointing news.
“He just felt a twinge in his hamstring,” Smith explained, as per the club’s official site. “We don’t believe it’s going to be a bad one, he actually carried on for two or three minutes after which proves to me it’s not a bad one. It’s just he felt the twinge and knew it was time to get off.
“He’s been missing for the last three or four months with a knee injury and he’s worked really hard to get back to full fitness. He was building up his game minutes, so really frustrated for him but it will only be a small step backwards, that’s for sure.”
It’s such a frustrating and disappointing setback for us, but naturally Sanson himself will be feeling it most. Just as it appeared that he not only would be knocking on the door for a bigger role this season but having put on a really positive display to show what he’s about and what he can offer this side, it’s a real shame that he now faces another spell on the sidelines.
Smith noted that it’s likely Sanson will now sit out for around a month, which perhaps suggests that our clash with Arsenal at Villa Park on October 22 is arguably the most realistic comeback date for him, and so it’s hoped that he can make a swift and full recovery without any further setbacks and will eventually get a chance to shine consistently in a Villa shirt.