By Dan Carter

16th Nov, 2023 | 12:53pm

Gabby Agbonlahor gushes over Ezri Konsa live on talkSPORT amid Aston Villa player development

When Tyrone Mings went down with an injury on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, it looked like it could prove costly for both Aston Villa and England.

Unai Emery’s side had lost their leader at the heart of their defence in the opening minutes of the campaign, but thanks to the excellent performances of Ezri Konsa in his absence Villa have continued to go from strength to strength.

Villa sit fifth in the Premier League during the November international break and are flying in the Europa Conference League and Konsa has been rewarded with his first international call-up and Gabby Agbonlahor believes he is better than several of England’s centre-back options.

Speaking on talkSPORT (16 November, 6:11) he he said: “Konsa it’s been coming, all the Villa fans have been shouting for Konsa and I feel sometimes [Gareth] Southgate waits for teams to be in the top five, top six.

“Konsa’s been outstanding. He’s quick for starters, he’s strong, good in the air but he’s also very good at coming out with the ball, his passing is top. He’s good at coming out with the ball, passing to the striker and playing.

“For me, he’s better than [Fikayo] Tomori from AC Milan, he’s better than [Mark] Guehi from Crystal Palace and sometimes you’ve got to say to Southgate you’re looking at somebody playing in Serie A, which is not as competitive as the Premier League, somebody playing at Crystal Palace.

“Then you’ve got Konsa playing in a fifth-placed team at Aston Villa who are flying, playing outstanding football. I’m happy for Konsa and England fans won’t be disappointed.”

Konsa has been in inspired form this season, especially in possession where he has completed an average of 92.8 per cent of his passes per game, better than 88 per cent of defenders in the Premier League this season [Fbref].

Guehi has been less accurate with the ball at his feet, completing an average of 89.7 per cent of his passes but has been stronger defensively. The Palace man sits in the 51st percentile for tackles per match, while Konsa lands in the 30th percentile and Guehi also wins an average of one more aerial duel than the Villa man per game.

Tomori has been better than both of the Premier League’s offerings, sitting in the top five per cent of defenders in Europe’s top five leagues for tackles made per 90 minutes, with an average of 2.05 a game. The Milan star has also shone in possession, matching Guehi’s completion rate with 89.2 per cent.

The standard of Serie A can be questioned, but Tomori has shown that he is capable of competing against the world’s best, with the Englishman keeping clean sheets against Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this season.

In Milan’s recent win over PSG, the 25-year-old won 100 per cent of his duels against Kylian Mbappe and company, while also completing 80 per cent of his passes, including five into the final third [Fotmob].

While Konsa has been impressive this season, it feels slightly bold to suggest that he is better than Tomori in particular. The Aston Villa man will have to be at his best to make his England debut during the international break given the immense quality at Southgate’s disposal.

In other Aston Villa news, Leander Dendoncker wants to quit Villa this January and is keen to remain in the Premier League