A key component of their strong start to the campaign has been their rock-solid defence. Their back four has kept four clean sheets building on the solidity that kept them up last season. At the heart of their defence is Ezri Konsa. The talented centre-back has been a vital part of Villa’s improvements this season.
The 23-year-old was integral as Villa stayed up last season and he has carried that form into the new season. Konsa has developed a brilliant relationship with Tyrone Mings and is only going to get better in the future. The defender started in the EFL and he is quietly developing into a quality Premier League centre-back.
Ezri Konsa Is Swiftly Becoming a Quality Premier League Centre-Back
Konsa Is Getting Better Game by Game
Like many players, it took Konsa time to settle into Premier League football. The defender moved to Villa in the summer of 2019 for £12 million. People baulked at the money paid but with every game he plays, Konsa is growing and getting better. On his current form and excellent performances, that £12 million is looking like a bargain.
A stop-start first Premier League season ended with a key role in helping Villa secure their Premier League status. He played a big role in those final four games which ensured Villa remained a Premier League club. As well as key defensive contribution alongside Mings, he managed to score his first Premier League goal in the draw at Everton.
That positive momentum has been carried into this season. He has been a constant in the Villa side playing all seven of their league games helping the Villains to four clean sheets and sixth place in the Premier League table.
The Defender Brings So Much to the Table
His performances have made him a fans favourite at Villa Park. He embodies exactly what Dean Smith wants from his team – hard work and commitment. Konsa brings that in abundance to every single game and its clear to see why he has become a key player for the Villa manager.
As well as his hard work and commitment, Konsa brings plenty to the table at the heart of the defence. His reading of the game has majorly improved over the past year. When he first arrived into the Premier League, he was making rash mistakes and quickly learning the harsh realities of Premier League football. However, he has vastly improved in that area; this has been a vital asset to both the player and the team.
In addition to this, Konsa is a pacey centre-back. His pace has made him a difficult defender to get past. Even when out of position, Konsa isn’t fazed and quickly recovers using his pace. Like his reading of the game, his recoveries of the ball have improved too.
With Dean Smith wanting his sides to use the ball effectively and break at pace, he relies on the quality distribution of his centre-backs. We see on a regular basis Tyrone Mings playing 60-yard cross-field balls to wingers and this a key tool to Villa’s style of play. While Konsa is slightly more reserved in his passing, he is effective playing clever balls short to the likes of Ross Barkley, John McGinn and Jack Grealish. Konsa does possess real quality with his feet and certainly, his ball control and passing ability is majorly improving.
From Humble Beginnings to the Premier League
Konsa has worked his way up to the Premier League. He is a product of the Charlton Athletic academy. He made just shy of 100 appearances for Charlton plying his trade in League One with the Addicks. His impressive performances caught the eye of Dean Smith who was then Brentford’s manager.
He moved across London to Brentford in 2018. During his sole season with the Bees, Konsa developed into one of the Championship’s top centre-backs. When Dean Smith left Brentford for Villa, it was always likely he would return to his former club to sign players. That is what he did and Konsa arrived in 2019 following Villa’s promotion.
A tough first season at Villa followed but the more games he plays, the better he has become. Villa’s excellent start to this season is down to several factors but their watertight defence is a major factor. Konsa is at the heart of that and alongside Mings, he has formed one of the Premier League’s best partnerships.
England Call up on the Cards for Ezri Konsa
Konsa’s fantastic start to the season has certainly helped his chances of potentially earning an England call up. He is the kind of centre-back Gareth Southgate will look at but of course, there is fierce competition for a spot in the England squad.
However, Southgate has always rewarded players for their hard work, form and dedication to their football. Konsa fits all those brackets and while he has stiff competition, an England call up is very much within his reach. His form will have impressed the England set up and should he maintain this kind of form, he will likely place himself in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts.
Eventually, Konsa could be playing alongside Tyrone Mings in England colours as well as together at Villa.
He Is Developing Nicely Into A Quality Premier League Centre-Back
Konsa’s rise to the Premier League has been brilliant. He has seized his chance at Villa and is already growing into a quality Premier League defender. Working alongside Villa assistant manager John Terry is a huge plus for him. From watching his performances you can see the work with John Terry is helping his development immensely.
At 23 his best years are ahead of him and Dean Smith recognises his importance to the Villa in so many different ways. With Villa having a terrific campaign thus far, whatever success they achieve this season, Konsa will have played some part.
His attitude and personality is infectious and there is plenty more to come from him. But right now his confidence must be sky high with the way he and his team are performing. Konsa’s development at Villa has been rapid and he is establishing himself as a Premier League centre-back.