Mile Jedinak returned to action in November following various injuries and has initially failed to stake his claim back in the first team. Derby day against Birmingham City arrived and manager Steve Bruce opted for the big Aussie over the in-form Birkir Bjarnason and he didn’t disappoint.
Jedinak proved that he still has the capabilities to fill the hole in front of the back four and therefore silenced any critics the 33-year old may have had.
THE SEASON SO FAR
Jedinak made his return and played a full 90 minutes of football in a tough game away at Derby on December 16th which resulted in a defeat. According to whoscored.com, he rated an average 6.73.
The manager stuck with the former Crystal Palace midfielder by starting him against Sheffield United a week later. Mile managed to score an early headed goal but conceded 2 in a matter of minutes due to individual mistakes.
You could argue that he was playing out of position at centre-back which is obviously not his favourite position and I am sure I am not alone when I say I hope he doesn’t play there again anytime soon. Since then he has completed four 90 minute games putting in some solid performances.
Glenn Whelan was purchased in the summer from Stoke and was the natural replacement for Jedinak who struggled with injuries at the start of the season. The Irishman did an ok job in the middle but did have a few shaky games and didn’t really command the position.
Whelan also picked up an injury and Bruce called for an emergency substitution in Bjarnason who surprised many by doing a sterling job at a time when it was thought that the Icelandic International would leave Villa Park.
Fitness is an issue for Jedinak especially in the Championship where the games come thick and fast. At 33 years old he isn’t getting any younger so injuries could become a more common problem. However, it would be stupid to rule him out as he still has the quality as he proved in the 2-0 win over Birmingham over the weekend.
I believe Jedinak is still capable of starting games but its whether he can compete with the times when he is required to play three games a week. There is no harm in Bruce using him for the bigger occasions.
Not only doe he have the quality as I have already mentioned but he is also a great leader to have in and around the dressing room on match days.