Remi Garde explains why Carlos Sanchez is key to Aston Villa

The new boss believes the Colombia international provides a stronger presence in the centre of the park than his fellow Villa midfielders.

Carlos Sanchez will be key to Aston Villa’s survival bid because of his physicality in midfield, manager Remi Garde has told AVTV.

Sanchez, 29, joined Villa from Spanish side Elche in August 2014 for a reported £4.7 million fee after impressing at the World Cup in Brazil and has since made 45 total appearances for the club, while recording one goal and an assist.

The Colombia international has largely struggled for consistency during his time in the Midlands and been in and out of the line-up as a result, but Garde insists that he will be vital to the team going forward because he offers more on the defensive side of the ball than his midfield teammates.

 2015-16 Premier League GoalsAssistsKey PassesPassing AccuracyTotal TacklesTackle AccuracyDuels WonDuel SuccessInterceptionsBall RecoveriesAppearancesMins Played
Carlos Sánchez 0 0 1 81% 33 64% 57 56% 19 57 10 647

The former Lyon boss’ first game in charge of the club against Manchester City earlier this month saw the experienced anchorman put in an impressive shift from the start to help the hosts secure a 0-0 draw, and while he had to settle for a 45-minute substitute appearance in the weekend’s 4-0 defeat at Everton after returning late from international action, Villa still looked much improved following his half-time introduction.

“I think he has quite a different profile from the other players in midfield,” Garde told AVTV. “He’s a bit stronger and heavy-weighted compared to the others. When he came on [against Everton] he did great.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t train [at Bodymoor] during the two weeks between the City and Everton games because he was far away and had a long trip back quite late in the week.

“Then I decided not to play him from the start, but when he came in I was very happy.”

Nicknamed “The Rock” for his study defensive play, Sanchez has openly admitted to struggling with the pace of English football at times since his arrival from Spain, but there was a period last winter when he stood out as Villa’s most impressive performer for several games.

The extraordinary man-marking job he performed on Neymar in Colombia’s 1-0 group win over Brazil at the Copa America in the summer also showed what he could offer the club at his best, but former manager Tim Sherwood proved reluctant to give him a consistent run of games over the start of this season.

Things could now be set to change under new boss Garde, however, as the 62-times capped midfielder’s bite in the centre of the park will be much needed while the Premier League’s bottom dwellers battle against the threat of relegation over the rest of the season.

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