Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has denied leaving out Mbwana Samatta and Frederic Guilbert for transfer-related reasons, insisting it was ‘just selection’.
The pair were left out against Sheffield United on Monday, as the club got off to a winning start in the Premier League.
Ezri Konsa scored the only goal of the game to get Villa up and running for the 2020/21 season, leaving fans delighted.
But there was some confusion from supporters regarding Samatta and Guilbert’s exclusions, especially the latter who lost his starting berth towards the end of 2019/20.
Asked about his decision not to include the pair in his squad, Smith said (quoted by Birmingham Mail): “That was just selection. Players who I believe have done well [in training] get in the team.”
TBR’s View – Time up for Samatta and Guilbert?
One wonders if Smith only said that answer the question.
If the pair genuinely didn’t do enough in training to get selected then that is fair enough.
Certainly on the pitch striker Samatta has been found wanting since joining the club in January, but Guilbert’s omission seemed quite harsh.
He is a popular figure amongst the Villa faithful, and his name trended on Twitter before the game as people questioned his whereabouts.
One can’t help but feel they might both be departing.