By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

26th Oct, 2023 | 12:10pm

Youri Tielemans to start despite exit speculation in early Aston Villa team news v AZ Alkmaar

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…

Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker will start for Aston Villa in their Europa Conference League clash with AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, according to Alan Hutton.

Unai Emery’s side are in the Netherlands preparing for their third group-stage match at the AFAS Stadion.

Emery has regularly rotated his side for European matches this season and Hutton fully expects Tielemans and Dendoncker to be back in the starting line-up despite recent speculation surrounding their careers at Villa Park.

Hutton has previously predicted Dendoncker faces being frozen out by Emery unless his performances improve while Football Insider reported on 11 October that Tielemans wants to leave Aston Villa in January after falling out with the manager.

“Tielemans and Dendoncker will come back in,” Hutton told Villa News.

Emery has changed things around for European games.

It’s difficult when they’re flying so high in the league, they’re sitting fifth at this moment in time.

There’s an opportunity to rotate [against AZ] but not too much. I think they’ve seen that in the games. They haven’t had the results they would have wished for so that means that there’s maybe one or two too many changes.

The players coming in have to step up to it and show the manager they’re capable. It’s a big game.”

Villa are currently bottom of Group E but all four teams are currently on three points with one win and one loss.

Emery’s side beat Zrinjski Mostar last time out in Europe but were defeated by Legia Warsaw in the group opener.

AZ away is the toughest match on paper, however.

In other Aston Villa news, the ball is in this player’s court after a reported behind-the-scenes bust-up with Unai Emery.