Aston Villa have been left having to investigate the possibility of claiming compensation on insurance through the FIFA Club Protection Programme after Jonathan Kodjia came back from international duty facing a long-term injury.

Hardball

Considering the player wasn’t fit enough to play for Villa before the international break, the question has to be asked, should Villa have played hardball with the Ivory Coast?

If there was memorable trait of Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful management reign, after  ‘Fergie Time’, it would be how Manchester United players carrying knocks tended to always be ‘injured’ during the international break, yet fit again for the first United game that followed.

It’s a shame Villa boss Steve Bruce didn’t learn this trick, when playing under Fergie.

Injury History

Villa have had a recent tendency of losing key players to long-term injury during the international break – with Jordan Amavi and Mile Jedinak being the most recent examples.

This latest international break sees two Villa players, that were just coming back into the Villa frame after injuries, go off on international duty and return back crock.

Scott Hogan is expected to be out for weeks with a stomach problem he picked up while away with Ireland. The big news though was Jonathan Kodjia, simply because he wasn’t fit enough to play for Villa against Sheffield Wednesday immediately before the break.

Now, ask yourself, if Sir Alex Ferguson or even Jose Mourinho was in charge of Villa, would Kodjia have gone? I very much doubt it.

Whatever the Ivory Coast medical team said and the international regulations stipulate, the law of Fergie would have been laid down and a technicality would have been found, if needed.

Lets also not forget that Kodjia only started his country’s first game in this year’s African Cup of Nations before he was benched in the tournament, so you could argue they’d survive without him.

Not Fit Enough

The fact that Kodjia broke down in the first intensive training session ahead of the Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualifier with Morocco suggests the striker wasn’t fully fit. Plus, it was the same ankle that he previously injured, that had kept him on the sidelines for several months.

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When Bruce was asked by local press regarding the situation with Kodjia, he said:

“We could not stop him (going). We have been in constant touch with their people. I could not stop him, it is a big World Cup game.

“How could I stop him playing in that when he thought he was going to be fit? He was touch and go to play against Sheffield Wednesday and we knew in another week he was going to be OK.

“Unfortunately his first intensive training session he gets injured, what can you do?”

What about put your foot down and play the bad cop, Mr Bruce?

Cast your mind back to the Villa boss playing Robert Snodgrass with two fractured ribs against Wednesday, and you have to question Bruce’s apparently soft mentality here.
Come on Steve, this is the modern game, you’re allowed to get the cotton wool out and wrap your players in it, when it suits.

The Call

Kodjia certainly didn’t leave Villa 100% fit, as the Ivory Coast had to call Villa several days later to reassure the club about their player’s fitness.
“We have had the doctor from Ivory Coast ring us on the Wednesday to say he was going to train, he was 100 per cent OK,” said Bruce. “They were fully confident.”
It is this call that puts Villa in good position to claim compensation through FIFA’s scheme.
It’s a small comfort though, as this season should be about Aston Villa promotion at any cost, even if that means pi**ing a few football associations off in the process.

 

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