Forgotten man Jores Okore wants to fight for his Aston Villa future, but the centre-back admits that a winter exit is possible.
Signing from FC Nordsjælland last summer for around £4 million, despite reported interest from Chelsea, Okore made just four total appearances during his first season at Villa before rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament against Newcastle United in September.
He managed to return to the pitch during pre-season, and has since featured twice for the club's reserves, as well as for both Denmark's senior side and Under-21s, but a first-team return under Paul Lambert continues to elude him.
Even with Ron Vlaar missing six weeks earlier in the campaign with a nagging calf issue, and Philippe Senderos sidelined for the past four league matches with a thigh strain, the eight-time capped defender has continued to be overlooked, as both Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark have been preferred to either step into the line-up or warm the bench.
Evidently frustrated at being overlooked in recent weeks, the promising 22-year-old has now left his future open with some revealing comments to Danish station TV2 after captaining the Under-21s to a 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic.
“I came to Villa to play and I am going to fight to make that happen,” he said in quotes covered in the Birmingham Mail.
“At the same time I need to play, so I don’t want to exclude anything when it comes to the coming transfer window.”
|2013-14 Premier League||Position||Team||Errors Lead To Shot||Total Tackles GAME||Total Clearances GAME||Aerial Duels GAME||Aerial Duel Success||Interceptions GAME||Fouls GAME||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Jores Okore||DF||Aston Villa||0||1.67||5||1||60%||1||1||88%||3||167|
With further injuries hitting the club’s back-line during the international break, however, Okore could well be about to get his chance.
Both Vlaar and Senderos sustained fresh injuries while with the Netherlands and Switzerland, respectively, and main backup Baker is already suffering with a twisted knee picked up in the recent 0-0 draw at West Ham United, meaning Villa could be left with just Okore and Clark as their only fit centre-back options for the upcoming home game against Southampton on November 24.
Manager Lambert contended last month that the Dane had to do more to earn his first-team spot, but a solid performance next Monday night against an in-form Saints side would go a long way towards proving his worth.