ZIMBABWEAN midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba has given up his number 11 shirt at English Premiership Aston Villa ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season on Saturday.
The English club announced that Nakamba has given in to the wishes of new signing Ollie Watkins for the striker to wear number 11 while the Zimbabwean will don 19.
Watkins joined Aston Villa from Brentford on a five-year contract in what is said to be a club-record £28m deal that could potentially rise to £33m. The striker requested for number 11 since he had that on his back throughout his time with the Bees.
Watkins has reunited with Dean Smith, who was Brentford manager when Watkins arrived from Exeter City in 2017.
“Marvelous Nakamba has kindly agreed to let Watkins take his preferred No.11 following his arrival from Brentford, the number that he wore throughout his three years at Griffin Park.
“The Zimbabwean midfielder will subsequently take the No.19 shirt during the upcoming campaign, which was last worn by Borja Baston,’’ the club said on Friday.
Nakamba played 29 league matches for Villa last season after joining from Club Brugge of Belgium, with Claret and Blue winning seven and losing 16 of them. The defensive midfielder did not provide any assist as Villa survived relegation, with their place in one of the top leagues in the world confirmed on the last day of the season.
Matty Cash, another new player at the club who joined from Nottingham Forest will take the No.2 shirt, which was last occupied by Belgian defender Ritchie De Laet during the 2018/19 season.
Aston Villa face Manchester United at Villa Park in a friendly match on Saturday. Villa were originally scheduled to play Manchester City this weekend in their 2020/21 Premier League opening fixture.
However, like United, Pep Guardiola’s men were given extra time off before their first game of the new season, given their extended run in Europe last season.