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Okore plays for Denmark, may be nearing Villa return

Jores Okore's absence from the Aston Villa squad lists to start the season has been a bit of a mystery. It seems as if the defender may nearly be ready to return, though.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Jores Okore has yet to feature for Aston Villa in a competitive match since injuring himself near the beginning of last season. And for many fans, this was a bit perplexing. Okore, after all, did feature in some of Aston Villa's preseason matches, and we had heard that he was nearing a return to fitness. In fact, we had heard towards the end of last season that he may have been ready to play then. But he hasn't, so what gives?

It turns out that Paul Lambert may just be taking an ultra-cautious approach with the Danish defender after he played in a Denmark match on Sunday and a Danish U21 match last Wednesday. Okore got more than 30 minutes as a substitute in the former match, a 2-1 win over Armenia in Euro 2016 qualifying, and played the full 90 in the latter, a 4-2 romp over Russia's U21 squad.

If Villa were just taking it slowly with Okore, it's good to see that he may be up to match fitness now. While Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos have formed an excellent centre back pairing thus far, it would be excellent to get Okore worked into a bit of a rotation. At the very least, it will be comforting to know that the backup for either of the Villa defenders is Okore and not Nathan Baker.