Villa boss Tim Sherwood has told the oft-injured defender to manage his own training workload, much like the former Tottenham Hotspur skipper used to.
Vlaar, 30, has struggled with various injuries during his three seasons at Villa but this term has been his most frustrating, having been restricted to just 14 total appearances since returning from his impressive World Cup campaign.
The Dutchman last featured six weeks ago when he was sent off after conceding a late spot-kick in the 2-1 home defeat to Stoke, forcing him to sit out the following match at Newcastle, before missing the past five games with a nagging calf problem.
He is now fit and in contention for this afternoon’s Premier League clash at Manchester United, however, although it remains to be seen whether he will be able to break up the strong parternship Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore have struck up in his absence.
The Villa boss is desperate to have his star skipper in the mix during their bid to steer clear of the drop, though, and has therefore told him to manage his own schedule to ensure he isn’t overworked.
It’s a similar situation to when Sherwood was working at Tottenham Hotspur alongside the oft-injured Ledley King, who would sit out training sessions on a regular basis in a bid to stay fit, although the former Spurs defender’s knee issues were somewhat more serious than Vlaar’s noted calf problems.
“I’ve told him to manage his body,” said Sherwood. “If he doesn’t feel like it one day he needs to pull out.
“The last thing I want to do is push him to the limit and him get injured again. He’ll need to make sure that he stays in.
“It’s down to them to manage themselves,” he continued. “You have to treat them as men and let them do it themselves.
“They know what treatment they need, they’ve had the injury before so they know what they need to get better.
“You have to allow them to do what they feel is right. You’ll be a fool to try and push him.”