One of the most perplexing parts of Tim Sherwood's short reign at Aston Villa has been his reluctance to use Carles Gil. The Spanish playmaker was, without question, the bright spot of this squad in the dying days of the Paul Lambert era. He was fast, had an incredibly high work rate, and created more than the rest of the team combined. In short, he was exactly what a team with only fifteen league goals to their name needed.
And he has barely been used by Sherwood. He started the match against Stoke, then sat on the bench against Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion. On Saturday he got into the FA Cup match with two minutes of regulation time left. The absence as left many Villa fans wondering: what's up?
Well, now we at least have a little bit of an answer. The Birmingham Mail has Sherwood saying "It's up to Carles to prove on the training field he warrants a place. It's my choice who plays and doesn't." Huh. Well alright then.
So apparently Gil has not been showing his all on the training pitch. Maybe he's (seemingly) the only player at Aston Villa who pines for the days of Paul Lambert. But given how open and honest Sherwood has been thus far – and how willing he has been to give chances to formerly unwanted players – I think we can take him at face value. Gil has not been put on a bomb squad or anything like it, he simply has not forced his way into being selected.
I might disagree with Sherwood on this particular opinion (I can't see any way that even a revived Charles N'Zogbia is a better choice), but I appreciate his candor. Compare that to the way that players would disappear for months at a time under Paul Lambert and never be mentioned. This is a refreshing step forward.