Nobody in the first team squad at Aston Villa Football Club has had to be more patient under Steve Bruce than Aaron Tshibola.
Whilst Tshibola featured in Bruce’s first match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, he has since then found himself outside of the manager’s plans, much to the surprise and dismay of many a fan. He has occasionally been on the bench as an unused substitute. However, on the whole, the midfielder has been in the stands or in the Under-23 team for more than two months.
This would not have been what the former Reading player expected after his big money move to Villa Park from Berkshire, especially given that he featured more prominently in the plans of Bruce’s predecessor, Roberto Di Matteo.
There was even talk prior to the opening of the January transfer window that Tshibola’s stay at Aston Villa Football Club could be a brief one. Steve Bruce did quash this rumour and insisted that the midfielder is part of his plans.
Mile Jedinak’s illness last week and the absence of Jonathan Kodjia, missing from the squad because of his international commitments, freed up spaces for both Tshibola and another player who fans have been calling out for – Rushian Hepburn-Murphy – on the bench at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The two players picked ahead of Tshibola in the side – Ashley Westwood and Gary Gardner – were both awful and were hauled off at half-time. This gave Tshibola the chance to come on and show what he could do. The result was that he could do more than the other two.
Along with Gabby Agbonlahor, his fellow half-time substitute, he improved an underperforming side. It therefore now appears that Tshibola will, or at least should, jump ahead of Westwood and Gardner in the midfield queue .
Bruce previously said that Tshibola did not get a look in because others had not done much wrong and his time would come. That time appears to be now.
It has been widely reported and is expected that there will be soon further company and competition for the central midfield places. We are waiting to see whether Henri Lansbury will move from Nottingham Forest whilst others, including James McCarthy, Tom Cleverley and Matty James, have also been linked with moves to Aston Villa Football Club.
From the point of view of Tshibola, it is therefore vital that he gets the opportunity to showcase his qualities now so that he can cement a place in the plans of Bruce along with any new recruits.