Graeme Souness delivers damning verdict on Chelsea loanee Danny Drinkwater’s Aston Villa debut

Graeme Souness has taken aim at Aston Villa manager Dean Smith over his decision to start Danny Drinkwater against Manchester City.

Drinkwater came straight into Villa’s XI for the clash against City having joined the club on loan from Chelsea on Tuesday.

But the former Leicester City man went on to endure a nightmare debut for the Lions, with City easing to a comfortable 6-1 victory at Villa Park.

And Souness believes Smith was wrong to throw his new recruit into the starting line-up straight away.

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“It is to be expected from Drinkwater. He has only played two games this year,” the Scot told Sky Sports post-match.

“I think it was a mistake yeah. I’ve been a player and manager and some players with a pre-season need five or six games.

“Some players with a pre-season need 10 games. There is no way he can be fit. He could have been in the gym, he could have been doing double sessions, but he has not been playing games.

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“Playing against Liverpool or playing against City are the hardest games you can have right now.

“You know you are going to spend the vast majority of the time without the ball when you play City and he never laid a finger on anyone.

“He left him on and I think what the manager is thinking is we will give him a good 75 minutes and hopefully that is the process of him getting match fit.

“But he wasn’t ready for that kind of game today.”