Former Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has been reacting to news regarding Phillipe Coutinho, as per Football Insider.
Coutinho made his move to Villa Park permanent over the summer but is yet to hit the heights of last season under Steven Gerrard.
The 30-year-old has started just four Premier League games this term and is yet to register an assist or score a goal in eight appearances in all competitions.
Coutinho’s drop in form has resulted in him being left out of the latest Brazil squad for friendlies against Ghana and Tunisia in the coming days.
McLeish, who contributes for Sky Sports, was talking to Football Insider regarding the off-field update on Coutinho. He said that the Villa playmaker will be ‘hurt’ at being left out of Tite’s squad, labelling it as a ‘huge blow’.
The Scotsman said of the 30-year-old’s Brazil omission:
“It will be a huge blow to his ego and it will be a kick up the backside for him.
“He’s a great player and we all love to see him on top of his form. What I would say in recent years, he’s not been that consistent from when you first saw him in his younger years when he exploded onto the scene.
“He’s now 30, you would think he’s at his peak but some little trigger has not taken him to that peak level in the Premier League.
“We all saw him at Barcelona in Champions League nights and games like that. When he came to Villa and in the first couple of games he looked like a world-beater again, you wouldn’t want to play against him at all.
“I was at a game last season, West Ham. He was really good in the opening stages but David Moyes changed tactics and got a grip of him a little bit. It seems that, sometimes, he doesn’t have a great influence on games that you would expect.
“It’s the peak now of his career. I’m sure he’ll be hurt by being left out of the national team. It might give him that wee bit of motivation he needs to get back in there by giving exceptional performances for Aston Villa.
“It could be a win-win for Aston Villa. The manager’s praying for a guy that could make a difference.”
Coutinho will be desperate to head to Qatar in November for the World Cup, so you’d expect that he’ll need an uplift in form to get a place in Brazil’s squad for that tournament.
He put in a more promising display last time out against Southampton, being maned man of the match by Sky Sports as his cross ultimately resulted in Jacob Ramsey’s winning goal.
Steven Gerrard labelled him a ‘man possessed’ in training last week, so hopefully Villa will reap the rewards of a revitalised Coutinho following the international break, with time running out for the 30-year-old to catch Tite’s eye.
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