Aston Villa should appoint a new manager now, says European Cup hero Ken McNaught

Eric Black has taken caretaker charge of the club's last three games following Remi Garde's departure and the suggestions are that the board could wait until the end of the season to find a permanent successor to the Frenchman.

Aston Villa legend Ken McNaught has told AVTV that his former club should appoint a new manager now rather than wait until the summer to give the incoming boss as much time as possible to prepare for life in the Championship.

Villa were officially relegated for the first time since 1987 on Saturday afternoon when Marcus Rashford’s first-half strike saw them fall to a 1-0 loss at Manchester United.

The club currently sit 15 points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League with only four games left and have recorded just three wins and scored a division-low 23 goals amid two managerial changes, while also losing 24 matches.

Eric Black has overseen the team’s last three games in the wake of Remi Garde’s departure last month, but it remains to be seen when the permanent successor to the Frenchman will be named – with fresh reports suggesting that it might not be until the summer [h/t Daily Mail].

Nigel Pearson, David Moyes, Sean Dyche and Simon Grayson have all been linked with the vacancy over recent weeks [h/t The Mirror], but regardless of who ends up taking the job, McNaught believes the club’s new look board should be looking to make an appointment as soon as possible.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s just as question of getting this season out of the way as quickly as possible, but now is the time to appoint a manager,” McNaught told AVTV. “Make the decision and give them as much time as possible to do what he can because the club and these fans deserve to be up there and should be in the Premier League.”

With youngsters like Jack Grealish, Andre Green, Keinan Davis and Lordan Lyden at their disposal, McNaught believes there is reason to optimistic about the future, but he has been surprised that Black has proved reluctant to throw some of the club's Under-21 starlets into the first-team mix over recent weeks.

“I thought there would be more than one bled in today," he added to AVTV. "I thought the boy Lyden deserved to come on for a period at least and Grealish was on the bench – stick them on there. It’s still Old Trafford and it’s still a huge experience.

“It’s nothing to do with the fact that this was the actual game that we could be relegated – that could spur the young lads on to think, ‘I’ve tested relegation once, I’m never going to taste it again.’ – That builds up the mental strength.”

A solid and unpromising centre-half, McNaught made 260 appearances for Villa after joining the club from Everton in 1977, scoring 13 goals in the process.

The Scot was one of seven ever-presents in the League Championship-winning side of 1980-81 and went on to add European Cup and European Super Cup winner’s medals to his collection over the following two seasons before leaving for West Bromwich Albion in August 1983.

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