Aston Villa boss Remi Garde says players should not look at U21 duty as a punishment

Garde has challenged some of Villa's fringe players to prove themselves.

Remi Garde has suggested that some of Aston Villa's fringe players should look at the opportunity to play for the under-21 side as a positive, rather than a punishment, the Birmingham Mail report.

The likes of Libor Kozak and Adama Traore played for the Villans' U21 side on Monday, despite the fact that they would be considered as members of the senior side, regardless of how many chances in the first-team they have been given.

Despite their inclusion, Garde suggested that senior players should appreciate the chance to play more often.

"When you are a football player, even a reserve game is more like a sweet for a child, because it's a game and you want to play every game," he said.

While players should not have a problem featuring for the U21 side if it will benefit their hopes of earning a starting spot in the first-team, there is a danger - especially with Villa's perilous position in the Premier League - that motivation levels within the squad will severely drop if senior players find their appearances for the younger team have no impact on their first-team hopes.

Should Kozak and Traore find that they are continually putting in strong performances for the U21s, while the first-team's poor form continues, and it doesn't result in a recall to Garde's squad, then it could do so much damage to the team's morale that it makes it even harder for Villa to drag themselves out of the relegation fight. 

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