Former claret and blue star George Boateng claims the club don't have enough leaders or experience in their squad.
Villa suffered their seventh-straight Premier League defeat at Newcastle United on the weekend, and go into tonight’s home match against West Bromwich Albion in 19th-place with 11 fixtures remaining.
A revival was hoped under new manager Tim Sherwood, but the former Tottenham Hotspur boss hasn’t been able to spark his side into life in his first two games in charge, with the club now facing the threat of dropping down to the second-tier for the first time since 1988.
A lack of goals has been a major factor in their struggles, with Villa netting just 13 times in their 27 league matches, but Boateng believes the problems run far deeper, claiming the squad is too inexperienced to survive in the top-flight.
The Dutchman, who made 135 total appearances for the club between 1999 and 2002, believes current skipper and compatriot Ron Vlaar is one figurehead to look to in the dressing room but, him aside, can think of few other characters capable of digging them out of trouble.
“When you’re in this situation you really need leaders in your team,” he said. “You need older players who roll up their sleeves and fight, regardless of whether they’re down or not. Aston Villa don’t have those.
“They have a very young squad and there aren’t enough leaders and characters in that team to dig in and come out of it. Ron Vlaar is that type of player, but there aren’t enough at Villa.”
With Vlaar a fitness doubt for the visit of West Brom, midfielder Fabian Delph could captain Villa for the second consecutive match, having taken on the armband for the 1-0 loss at Newcastle ahead of Gabriel Agbonlahor when the Dutchman was suspended.