Aston Villa: Ezri Konsa proving just as vital as Jack Grealish

Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa

Jack Grealish is often lauded as Aston Villa's main man. 

Indeed, no player has been directly involved in more goals for the side this season. His tally of 18 top-flight goal contributions shows his importance to the Villans in the final third.

Yet Villa's impressive form this season has owed as much to their defensive record as their offensive impact.

Only table toppers Manchester City have kept more clean sheets than them so far this season and in that respect, the side have found someone just as important to their development as a Premier League force - Ezri Konsa.

It was reported last month that the 23-year-old, who Transfermarkt value at £10.8m, is set to be offered a contract extension prior to the summer transfer window in an attempt to ward off interest from Liverpool and Tottenham. He has certainly earned himself a new deal.

In 2019/20, Villa's defence was fragile. The side conceded 67 league goals - only Norwich shipped more. They needed to tighten up at the back this term, and they have.

Settling in alongside Tyrone Mings, Konsa has rapidly matured as the campaign has progressed. In his 24 league appearances, the team have kept 13 clean sheets, showing defensive solidity that simply wasn't there last year.

Konsa's performances have helped lift the club into the top half of the table, and former Villa striker Kevin Phillips recently hailed the centre-back for his role in Villa's improvement.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “He’s been at the heart of everything Villa have done this season. He’s been excellent with Mings, they haven’t been breached too much this year."

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His thoughts echo those expressed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher last month, who singled Konsa out for praise after Villa's victory over Leeds at Elland Road.

As reported by the Birmingham Mail, Carragher said: “I am a massive fan of Konsa at the back, alongside Mings, he gets a lot of the attention. But I think since he has come in, they have looked a lot more solid.”

Grealish continues to grab the headlines, and could make a major impact for England at this summer's Euros. Konsa has been a vital part of Dean Smith's side's success this season as well, though, and it may not be long before he joins Grealish in the national team set-up.

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