Aston Villa start Emiliano Martinez and Douglas Luiz in Premier League clash with Wolves only 36 HOURS after featuring in World Cup qualifiers for Argentina and Brazil as Dean Smith slams ‘farcical’ international break
- Martinez played whole 90 minutes of Argentina’s 1-0 win over Peru on Thursday
- Villa goalkeeper flew back to Britain in the early hours of Friday morning
- Midfielder Douglas Luiz featured for Brazil before also flying back on Friday
- Villa manager Dean Smith slams ‘farcical’ situation for South American players
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and midfielder Douglas Luiz will play in today’s Premier League clash against Wolves just 36 hours after featuring for Argentina and Brazil respectively in a World Cup qualifier.
The 29-year-old kept a clean sheet as the Albiceleste beat Peru 1-0 on Thursday night in Buenos Aires, before beginning his flight back to Britain in the early hours of Friday morning.
Despite the short turnaround, Martinez was named in Villa’s starting XI against their Midlands rival at Villa Park on Saturday.
Emiliano Martinez played in Argentina’s win against Peru on Thursday night in Buenos Aires
The Villa keeper kept a clean sheet before flying back to Britain early on Friday morning
Villa manager Dean Smith lashed out at the ‘farcical’ circumstances faced by South American players as they raced to return to their Premier League clubs in time for this weekend’s fixtures.
‘We’ve always had to deal with international periods but it’s been unprecedented that FIFA allowed the South American World Cup qualifiers to be within 48 hours of a Premier League fixture list,’ he said during his press conference on Friday.
‘For me it makes it farcical.’
Martinez will not be the only Villa player starting the game against Wolves less than two day after featuring in a World Cup qualifier either.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said the travel arrangements were ‘farcical’ for his players
Luiz was also named among the starters, despite playing for Brazil in their 4-1 win over Uruguay on Thursday.
Unlike Martinez, who played the full 90 minutes against Peru and kept a third consecutive international clean sheet, Luiz came off the bench after 71 minutes in place of Fabinho.
Luiz flew back with other some of his Brazil teammates playing for Premier League clubs on a chartered jet.
Douglas Luiz (left) also flew back on Friday after featuring in Brazil’s 4-1 win over Uruguay
On Friday, Smith said he would speak to both players before finalising his team selection.
‘I’ll speak to both of them when they land and speak to them in the morning to see where they are before we make any decisions,’ he said.
‘They’re available for selection which is pleasing for us.’
Villa headed into the international break in 10th place, with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford followed by a 2-1 loss away at Tottenham.