Despite barely featuring under Tim Sherwood last season, it appears that Carles Gil has managed to resurrect his Aston Villa career.
After impressing the Villa manager during their pre-season tour to Portugal, Gil is set to play a much bigger role this season.
The 23-year-old Spaniard was Paul Lambert’s final signing when he joined in January and he got his Aston Villa career off to an exciting start.
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He scored with a stunning strike in Villa’s fourth round FA Cup victory over Bournemouth, a goal that was later voted as the club’s Goal of the Season.
Two weeks later he set up Jores Okore to score Villa’s first goal in nearly 11 hours of football. Gil had brought some flair to a lacklustre Villa team and was being hailed by fans as the man to save them from the drop.
However, after Paul Lambert was replaced by Tim Sherwood, Gil played less than an hour of football during Villa’s final 16 games of the season as they narrowly avoided relegation.
He was described by Sherwood as an ‘icing on the cake player’ who wasn’t suited to ‘a relegation battle’. By the end of the season it was being reported by the Birmingham Mail that Gil would be one of the players that would be shown the exit door as Sherwood sought to put his own stamp on the makeup of his squad.
However, through his performances in pre-season, Gil has forced his manager to have a re-think.
Speaking to Villa’s official website Sherwood said: "Carles has shown me a lot in this pre-season already that he can play and affect things for us.
"He is going to play a lot more football this year. Hopefully we can get him on the ball in important areas of the field. He is a very technically gifted player.”
This will be music to the ears of Villa fans, many of whom were mystified at the Spanish playmaker’s absence.
They will be hoping now that the man who is affectionately known as ‘Charlie Hill’ at Villa Park will be able to deliver on his early promise and help propel the team up the table this season.