With Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith revealing earlier this week that Welsh international centre-half James Chester had been playing through pain for us since the beginning of December, it did put into perspective some of the criticism that had been levelled at the 30-year-old defender for his more recent performances.
Undoubtedly Chester hasn’t been as solid in the campaign of 2018/19 as he was last year with John Terry alongside, but with mounting criticism in recent weeks, plenty of fans were quick to point out he looked better with Axel Tuanzebe in the team because of his quicker pace at helping to mop things up.
To save overly repeating the bulk of the story, I’ll copy it in here.
With fans catching up to the news that his knee struggles had meant that he was now training far less to help him manage the issue, the reaction on social media was largely positive.
Haven't we just loaned a left sided centre back, Hause, who could give Chester the chance to take a break & rest up and let his knee heal?! surely it is not wise, for his long term fitness, to keep playing him with what clearly is a performance prohibiting injury #avfc
— KINGEIGHTYONE (@KingEightyOne) January 21, 2019
Agreed. He should be able to rest the next two. Got the bottom two next. Surely thats time to blood Hause and rest Chester?
— Scott (@CaptainScott87) January 21, 2019
— Barters (@Barters28) January 21, 2019
James Chester has carried a injury for months, we haven't got anybody else! Again showing his commitment to the club
— Mike Tomlin (@micktomlin82) January 21, 2019
We really need another centre back in, Chester is in pain and he needs time to heal , we need a right back and a left back and a holding midfielder , because Bjarnason ain't one and Whelan is past it and Jedinak may as well go back to Australia #avfc
— Ashley Skinner (@Villaboy89) January 22, 2019
Just a reminder that James Chester has carried this club's defence since Bruce's arrival and is owed a lifetime contract #avfc
— Villans Opinions (@VillansOpinions) January 22, 2019
Given our defence is dreadful, surely we have little to lose in taking Chester out the squad for a month so he can rest? Our "promotion campaign" is done for, why risk his career and long term health? We benefit in the long run #AVFC
— matt (@dvtavfc) January 22, 2019