Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede makes shortlist for African Player of the Year

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

The former Blackburn Rovers man has seamlessly made the step up to the top flight.

Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede has made the shortlist for African Player of the Year alongside some prestigious fellow pros, available to view on CAF's official website.

The 6’4 frontman arrived from Blackburn Rovers this summer for around £6 million – according to the Daily Mail – and has quickly settled into life in the Premier League.

Gestede scored minutes into his debut after coming on as a substitute against Bournemouth on the opening day, yet that wasn’t enough to force his way into the first team.

Tim Sherwood opted initially for the more mobile likes of Jordan Ayew, Scott Sinclair and Gabby Agnonlahor but the former Blackburn man has made his presence felt in recent weeks and has started the last three games.

Gestede, who hails from Benin, has already notched four goals for Villa this season but his inclusion on the 37-man shortlist is due largely to his excellent form with Rovers last term.

The 27-year old grabbed 22 goals in 44 appearances for Blackburn last season, demonstrating the kind of goalscoring prowess that prompted Sherwood to move on him.

Gestede is a rank outsider for the award, with the likes of Yaya Toure, Victor Wanyama and Riyad Mahrez also listed, but his inclusion is testament to the strides he has made in the last few years.

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