The 22-year-old Spaniard put in an impressive 45-minute shift in Villa's 0-0 friendly draw in Portugal.
Carles Gil showed exactly why Aston Villa fans were calling for his inclusion during last season’s run-in on Friday evening, as Tim Sherwood’s men ended their pre-season training camp in Portugal with a 0-0 draw with SC Braga.
With Sherwood fielding two different line-ups in each half, the Spanish midfielder started the match in a No. 10 role and proved Villa’s star performer through the first 45 minutes, providing skipper Gabby Agbonlahor with a number of excellent through balls, while impressing with his energy and work rate.
It was the skilful attacker’s second straight impressive performance after starring in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Fulham and, while doubts had been cast over his long-term future at the club earlier this summer, he now looks primed to pick up where he left off before Paul Lambert’s sacking.
Signed from Valencia in the winter transfer window, the former Under-21 international scored Villa’s goal of the season on his full debut in a 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Bournemouth, before going on to earn rave reviews in his first four league starts.
However, after being hauled off 58 minutes into Sherwood’s first game in charge against Stoke, he would go on go on to earn just a one-minute cup cameo over the remaining 15 games of the campaign, as rumours of a falling-out with the Villa boss led to reports of a potential return to Spain.
Sherwood put those suggestions to bed this week, though, telling the club’s official website: “Carles has shown me a lot in this pre-season already that he can play and affect things for us.
"He is going to play a lot more football this year because we're not in that situation where it's a relegation battle. I didn't know him last season and we were playing a different way – it was almost like we needed to get over the line.
"It's different now - and hopefully we can get him on the ball in important areas of the field."
Those comments will be music to the ears of Villa fans, who were quick to praise him on Twitter after witnessing his latest outing.
Carles Gil stood out tonight as a class above....let's hope Sherwood has him playing at number 10 this season #avfc— Joe (@JoeNicholls01) July 17, 2015
Carles Gil wants the ball all of the time. Always looking forward. Hoping to see him feature a lot this season— John Leavy (@JohnRLeavy) July 17, 2015
Carles Gil is a baller, cannot wait to see him and Grealish link up— Alistair Macnaghten (@Alistair_WW_Mac) July 17, 2015
carles gil just shrugging off players like there nothing— aimee. (@TeamGardner22) July 17, 2015
Who needs Delph when we have Carles Gil?— Heather (@HeatherG_) July 17, 2015
Carles Gil is so good, obviously Sherwood exiling him last year was a plan to use him as a “new signing” this year— Jack Grimse (@JackGrimse) July 17, 2015
Good to see Gil doing his thing. Like a new signing for us! #avfc— Christer (@Chrsmo) July 17, 2015
So glad Tim gave Gil a chance this Summer, with Benteke's departure, the team should be built around Gil's talents going forward. #avfc— Tyler Lusher (@TylerLusher) July 17, 2015
The one positive for next season is that Charles Gil looks a proper player. Can see him and grealish running riot next year #avfc— ROAR (@hygovilla) July 17, 2015