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“They’ve filled the position” – Ex-Aston Villa striker fears for one man’s place in Smith’s XI

Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa

Image source: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/ Getty Images

Gabby Agbonlahor fears for Tom Heaton’s place in Dean Smith’s starting XI given the form of Emiliano Martinez. The former Villa striker saw his former club produce a superb performance against Arsenal last weekend, as they beat the Gunners 3-0.

Spanish keeper Martinez continued his impressive start to life at the club, having signed from Arsenal in the summer for £20m. The 26-year-old has featured in all seven of Villa’s league games so far this term.

Meanwhile, Heaton, who suffered a serious knee injury back in January, is yet to return to full fitness. Agbonlahor has spoken about his pending return to action after the England international played 63 minutes in their 2-2 draw with Burnley’s under-23’s.

“Martinez is definitely number one,” the 34-year-old told Football Insider. “It’s unfortunate for Tom Heaton that he got injured when he did force Aston Villa to go and buy a keeper, if he hadn’t got injured they wouldn’t have gone and bought Martinez. Martinez has been unbelievable, he’s been strong and good on the ball, just a perfect goalkeeper that Aston Villa need.

“They’ve filled the position and it means Tom Heaton is not going to play. It’s like if you’re a left-winger you’re not going to play because of Jack Grealish. Certain positions in the team you know now that you’re not going to be able to get into.”

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