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Nakamba gives up No.11 shirt

Zimbabwe international midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba, has given up his number 11 shirt at English Premiership side Aston Villa for the season, which begins today.

Aston Villa unveil Marvelous Nakamba, their 13th new signing. Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images
Aston Villa unveil Marvelous Nakamba, their 13th new signing. Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

The English club announced Nakamba had given in to the wishes of record signing, Ollie Watkins, for the striker to wear the number 11 jersey.

The Zimbabwean will wear jersey number 19.

Watkins joined Aston Villa from Brentford, on a five-year contract, in a club-record £28m deal that could potentially rise to £33m.

The striker requested the number 11, since he had that on his back throughout his time with the Bees.

Watkins was reunited with Dean Smith, who was Brentford manager when the striker arrived from Exeter City in 2017.

“Marvelous Nakamba has kindly agreed to let Watkins take his preferred No.11, following his arrival from Brentford, a number that he wore throughout his three years at Griffin Park,’’ the club said.

“The Zimbabwean midfielder will subsequently take the No.19 shirt, during the upcoming campaign, which was last worn by Borja Baston.’’

Nakamba joined Villa from Club Brugge of Belgium on a £11 million transfer fee in August last year.

He played 29 league matches last season.

The defensive midfielder, however, featured in cameos in the latter stages of the campaign as Villa battled to avoid relegation.

Their place in one of the top leagues in the world was confirmed on the last day of the season.

Matty Cash, another new player at the club who joined from Nottingham Forest, will take the No. 2 shirt, which was last used by Belgian defender Ritchie De Laet during the 2018/19 season.

Villa were originally scheduled to play Manchester City this weekend in their opening 2020/21 Premier League fixtures.

However, like United, Pep Guardiola’s men were given extra time off before their first game of the new season, given their extended run in Europe last season.

Villa will face Manchester United at Villa Park in a friendly match today.

Watkins’ arrival is likely to heap pressure on Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta.

27-year-old Samatta, according to the Birmingham Post, has it all to do following the arrival of Watkins.

“The African striker’s reputation amongst the Villa fans is — to some extent — in the dirt,’’ the newspaper reported yesterday.

“He’s simply not rated and, to a minority, he’s often the butt of a transfer-related joke.

“Samatta, Tanzania’s national-team captain, scored 10 goals in 28 appearances prior to joining in January and initially showed signs of an electrifying striker in games against Leicester, Spurs and the Cup final against Man City.

“The pandemic soon arrived, though, and left Samatta incredibly isolated and sapped of any confidence in a new country.

“Lockdown clearly affected Samatta’s performances and, for the first game back, he was dropped.

“He was back in for Newcastle away and spurned a decent chance.

“With Wesley still sidelined to, at least, December-January, though, Samatta must find another gear to push Watkins all the way for a starting shirt.

“The ex-Genk man has returned to pre-season much sharper and has scored in two of Villa’s three warm-up games with another friendly confirmed for Saturday against Manchester United at Villa Park.’’ The Herald

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