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Dean Smith singles £11m Aston Villa ace out for praise, gave team 'really good energy' today

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has waxed lyrical about Marvelous Nakamba following his performance today.

The 27-year-old defensive midfielder was a surprise starter in today’s Premier League win over Arsenal, replacing Douglas Luiz in the XI.

Nakamba had played just nine games in all competitions prior to today, and was making his third league appearance of the season.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The £11million man put in a solid display as he chased the ball and made numerous tackles, helping to keep the Gunners at bay.

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Nakamba has helped Villa keep clean sheets in his last five league appearances, including his three top-flight starts this term.

Smith says he hasn’t felt the need to rotate his players too often as they’ve done enough to keep their jerseys, but was pleased with Nakamba’s effort when called upon.

“I just felt we needed some fresh legs in the midfield area,” Smith told Birmingham Live. “Douglas had played every minute of the last five games; John had missed just one having sat out of the Newcastle game suspended.

“I felt it was best to rest Douglas for this game and ‘Naka’ has came in and gave us some really good energy. He’s more of a defensive midfielder than Douglas and gives us something as little bit different.”

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Nakamba has had to bide his time at Villa this season but has been superb when called upon and has been earning plenty of praise from fans following his display today.

Douglas is a great player but Nakamba is arguably more suited to breaking up play, while the Brazilian is more of a ball player, so it’s good that Smith has these two different options at his disposal.

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