By Anthony Onifade

14th Nov, 2023 | 3:10pm

Alex Moreno could now be involved in Aston Villa Premier League clash v Tottenham after development in last 24 hours

Aston Villa defender Alex Moreno could now be closing in on a full return against Tottenham after the international break after he was spotted playing for the under-21s on Monday night.

The left-back sustained a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield back in May and hasn’t featured for Villa since then.

Moreno returned to the matchday squad against Crystal Palace but did not travel with the squad to Stamford Bridge in September as Unai Emery claimed (via journalist John Townley, 24 September) he was not 100 per cent comfortable to compete.

In fact, the Spaniard made the matchday squads for Villa’s last two Premier League games against Nottingham Forest and Fulham but was kept on the bench by Emery who may have had an eye on giving him crucial minutes with the under-21s during the international break.

The left-back played 63 minutes of Villa U21’s 4-3 win over Swansea City in the Premier League Cup on Monday night (13 November) with Aston Villa posting pictures on their official Twitter account of the Spaniard finally in action.

As a result, it may not be a surprise to see the Spaniard given his first minutes of the senior in Emery’s setup against Tottenham on 26 November, or their next Europa Conference League clash at home to Legia Warsaw (30 November).

Moreno made 19 Premier League appearances after becoming boss Unai Emery’s first signing when he joined in a £13million move from Real Betis in January this year, establishing himself as a regular starter before his injury.

The former Real Betis man was terrific for the Villans last season, recording three assists from his 19 league appearances, topping his expected assists (xA) of 2.58, averaging 1.2 key passes, completing 46% of his dribbles and also averaging 1.2 tackles per game [SofaScore].

According to the Opta-powered stats at FBREF, over the last year, out of every full-back in the top five European leagues, Moreno is in the 96th percentile of players for progressive carries (3.87) and the top 20% of his counterparts for progressive passes received (6.16 per 90) and successful take-ons (1.24 per 90).

Moreno’s attacking qualities have been well documented, and in an Aston Villa side that alters their tactical framework to allow their full-backs to bomb forward, it has proven the perfect match.

In his absence, Frenchman Lucas Digne has taken on the left-back responsibilities expertly so far this season which means Moreno certainly faces a tough fight to regain his spot back.

However, Moreno’s return to fitness is now just days away handing his manager and counterpart the perfect selection headache when club football resumes.

In other Aston Villa news, one academy wonder has been dealt a crushing blow to his first-team chances after a social media injury update.