Nine Aston Villa players went away on international duty last week, and many of them saw first-team action for their countries. As usual, some had better breaks than others. Here’s a recap:
New signing Jonathan Kodjia scored a bicycle kick goal for Côte d’Ivorie in their 1-1 draw against Sierra Leone on Saturday in Africa Cup Of Nations qualifying. He’s now scored two goals in his past two appearances for Les Éléphants. Here’s a video of the new signing’s impressive overhead effort:
James Chester and Wales had no problem seeing off Moldova for a 4-0 win. The Welsh U19 side and Mitchell Clark faced Iceland twice over the break, and he took a part in the first match, a 2-1 loss. He wasn’t involved in Tuesday’s scoreless draw.
In Moscow, Jordan Ayew played the full 90 minutes for Ghana in a 1-0 defeat to Russia. Ayew came on as a sub in Ghana’s 1-1 draw against Rwanda in Saturday’s AFCON Group H qualifying match, hitting the woodwork late in the match. Ghana have already qualified for January’s tournament.
He's not with his country’s senior side either, but Jordan Amavi and France's U21s lost to Ukraine on Friday, but beat Iceland 2-0 on Tuesday.
Another defender on duty with his U21 side, Kevin Toner didn’t see any playing time in either of the Republic of Ireland’s matches; a 2-0 win over Slovenia and a 3-2 loss to Serbia.
He went played 90 minutes in Australia’s 2-0 win over Iraq last week, but Mile Jedinak didn’t take part in the match against UAE after being injured prior to kickoff. Jedinak joins Jack Grealish on the injury table, after the youngster hurt his knee and was forced to return early from England U21 duty.
Alan Hutton was an unused substitute for Scotland in a 5-1 win over Malta.
Picking up two injuries, especially to these players, isn’t ideal. Additionally, since Ghana and the Ivory Coast have qualified for AFCON 2017, we now know that Villa will most likely be without Kodjia and Ayew in January. However, Benin have failed to qualify, meaning Rudy Gestede will be around.