By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

15th Oct, 2023 | 9:10am

Leander Dendoncker faces being frozen out by Unai Emery at Aston Villa

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park…

Alan Hutton doesn’t see Leander Dendoncker asserting himself in the Aston Villa starting line-up unless there’s a midfield injury crisis.

Dendoncker, 28, has only played five times for Villa this season with two of those appearances being one-minute cameos as a late substitute in the Premier League [transfermarkt].

He’s just 111 minutes in all competitions and in his last game, he was substituted off at half-time as Villa struggled to win against Zrinjski in the Europa Conference League on 5 October.

Hutton doesn’t see Dendoncker making much of an impact in Unai Emery’s starting line-up this season, admitting that the ex-Wolves midfielder isn’t playing as well as Villa’s other midfielders.

“It’s a difficult one,” Hutton told Villa News. “I don’t think he fits into that team that plays regularly in the Premier League – he doesn’t do enough to push himself in there.

It’s always going to be difficult because they look very settled as a team and Emery only really tinkers a little bit with one or two changes here and there.

It’s always going to be hard but if you’re playing in a European competition, doing well and playing at a high standard and somebody maybe gets injured, then there’s an opportunity for you to come in. That’s what he’s waiting for at this moment in time.

Can he do it? Time will tell because he has to play at a certain level.

We all know he’s a good player but it can be difficult when you’re not playing every week and getting thrown into games and expected to play 10 out of 10. It’s going to be hard for him to get into the starting 11.”

In other Aston Villa news, Louie Barry could be fighting for his future at Villa Park as his latest deal may be terminated early.