BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
ZIMBABWE international Marvelous Nakamba has been rewarded for his resurgence under new Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard, being voted the club’s November Player of the Month on Friday night.
Nakamba started in all the three league matches that Villa played in the month, one under former coach Dean Smith and two for Steven Gerrard.
It has been a difficult season for Nakamba, who made only three starts with Smith as coach, but he has been the mainstay of Gerrard’s budding tenure at the Birmingham club so far playing in every minute of it.
Only last week Nakamba made it into Alan Shearer’s Premier League team of the week after starring in Villa’s crucial win away at Crystal Palace.
“Thank you for everyone who voted for me,” Nakamba took to Twitter following the announcement on Friday evening.
The club’s Player of the Month poll attracted close to 8000 votes and Nakamba claimed 36% of them while fellow midfielder John McGinn had 24% and striker Olly Watkins was third best with a 12% share of the votes.
Villa announced Nakamba’s victory in the player of the month contest and congratulated him on the club website.
“Aston Villa supporters have voted Marvelous Nakamba as the club’s November Player of the Month, in partnership with Cazoo.
“The midfielder put in hugely impressive displays as he started all three matches last month against Southampton, Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.
“Zimbabwe international Nakamba played every minute under head coach Steven Gerrard in the wins against both the Seagulls and Eagles, collecting the club’s man of the match award for his performance in the 2-1 triumph at Selhurst Park.
“Congratulations, Marvelous!,” read the statement by the club.
Interestingly, McGinn was chosen ahead of Nakamba for the Premier League Player of the Month gong.
The arrival of Gerrard at Aston Villa ended a run of five matches without a win for the club as the team accounted for Brighton and Hove 2 – 0 at home before notching up a 2 – 1 win away at Crystal Palace.
However, Villa were on the receiving end, losing 2 – 1 at home to champions Manchester City in a midweek fixture last week where Nakamba played a blinder of a match.
But it was his performances against Brighton and Palace that won him the hearts of the Aston Villa faithful.
Nakamba will be looking to continue consolidating his place in the starting line up today when Villa hosts Leicester City, who have been struggling for form lately.
In his pre-match press conference Gerrard singled out Nakamba for praise.
“Marvelous has really stood out. We knew he was a good player, but we’re really impressed with how he’s gone about it in the past couple of weeks,” he told reporters on Friday.
Nakamba joined Aston Villa from Club Brugge in 2019 for £11 million, but failed to pin down a starting place under Smith after making a mere total of 13 Premier League appearances last season, including nine starts while he watched 25 as an unused substitute.
Nakamba is set to play a crucial role for the country at the AFCON finals set for Cameroon next month if Zimbabwe’s participation is not affected by the ban of the Zifa board by the Sports and Recreation Commission.