Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood needs the experience of central defender Ron Vlaar this weekend and over the rest of the season.
Vlaar will be in the mind of the gaffer and if he starts this weekend in the game against Stoke, he needs to step up because he has a massive role to play.
It’s a gamble by Sherwood if he starts the Dutchman because his appearance in the FA Cup win over Leicester City was just his second appearance this year, with his other coming against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.
He can’t do much worse than the other players who have been holding the central defensive positions and if he starts, he has to show why he’s the best in his position at the club.
His role as the club’s leader means he has a responsibility to demand the very best from the team when they walk out on the pitch and considering the side have conceded ten goals in their last four matches, he’ll have his work cut out.
The significance of Vlaar returning the side in the Premier League is made more important considering Villa’s opponents this weekend in Stoke.
He has a duty to get stuck in against the Stoke City attack, who are well known all over the Premier League for their ability to make things physical, which works to their main strengths.
Vlaar needs to personify strength and needs to set the example regardless of who Stoke line-up with in attack to try and bully the Aston Villa defence.
He’s the leader and if he throws in a heavy early challenges, makes a crucial header from a set piece or even scores, it has the ability to rub off on the rest of the team and to get them moving, which is why he’s the Aston Villa man who needs to step up.