Dean Smith has claimed, in comments reported by Birmingham Live, that Ezri Konsa has developed into a top-class centre-back as Aston Villa opened their Premier League campaign with a win.
The Villans had to work hard for their three points against Sheffield United. The Blades largely defended superbly after going down to 10 men during the first-half.
However, it was Konsa who found the back of the net during the second-half. Aaron Ramsdale was unable to keep out his perfectly-placed header.
The 22-year-old certainly seemed to grow into the game, and got better as it went along. And following the victory, Smith was full of praise for his performance, as well as that of Tyrone Mings alongside him.
“I thought Ezri Konsa was outstanding tonight. Tyrone has just signed a new contract and he might be on a heading bonus with the amount of headers he won today,” he said, as reported by Birmingham Live.
“We’ve got players who have got better quality. Ezri Konsa has grown into a top-class centre-back at this level. I thought he was excellent alongside Tyrone,” he went on to add.
It is a big boost for Villa to start the campaign with a clean sheet. Of course, Emiliano Martinez will take much of the credit for producing a superb penalty save on Monday night.
But the centre-backs were excellent. It was a performance they arguably needed with Villa boasting the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League last season.
Their task was perhaps made easier by the Blades having John Egan sent off. But there is no question that they stuck to their task excellently and deserve the praise coming their way.