Aston Villa are stuck in a relegation battle and winger Charles N’Zogbia has admitted he is happy to literally take one for the team at any time during their fight to avoid the drop.
However, the Frenchman has admitted he doesn’t mind and has urged other players to try and kick him out of a game because it means he must be having a positive effect.
“I do enjoy it. Sometimes I kick and I get kicked. That’s football. This one really hurt but it’s okay. But I'm happy to hurt people too! Sometimes it's good - I'm a man. I got a kick at the end on the calf and it was really sore but it’s fine now,” he told the Daily Mirror.
It’s encouraging for Villa to see one of their smaller and more dynamic players making comments like this when other players would have moaned at the way they were being targeted.
There is good reason Villa should be happy with the odd player being kicked up in the air, because it has the effect of making the entire side much more determined in closer matches.
That determination at a side trying to bully Villa out of a game is the added strength and added fire that Villa need to get themselves out of trouble over the rest of the season.
They should be careful they don’t encourage it too much because an opponent may take things a little too literally, which could risk the health of several key Villa players.
It’s encouraging for the manager Paul Lambert, that he doesn’t have to baby his best stars or protect them, he can just throw them into a game and tell them to get on with it.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of old school, Villa fans may just be a little bit surprised that it’s come from this source in particular and not one of the clubs huge centre backs or central midfield players.
Do Villa need more than grit to get out of trouble?
image: © michaelkjaer