A defence case for Aston Villa's Mile Jedinak

Sport | Published:

Villa boss Steve Bruce reckons moving into defence could help extend Mile Jedinak's career after tipping the Australian international to become a "top-class centre-back".

Jedinak is again set to line-up in the heart of Villa's backline for Saturday's game at Wigan, having impressed his manager during last weekend's 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday when he moved from his normal position in midfield following an injury to Nathan Baker.

Bruce believes the 32-year-old has the attributes to succeed at the back and claims a switch could keep him playing for longer.

"The big thing with Mile is it may prolong his career to go back," he said. "People are playing at 36, 37 and 38 at centre-back. You've got Gareth McAuley down the road at West Brom.

"There are not many players in midfield at that age. You can't expect to be going round a midfield area, being six foot three and it's something I will have a conversation with him about.

"Often when midfielders go back into defence they find the position easy because they are used to handling the ball and everything is in front of them. I think he has all the ingredients to be a top-class centre-back and I think he enjoyed it."

Jedinak has made 27 appearances since joining in a £4million move from Crystal Palace last August and his return to the team last month, following a groin injury, has coincided with Villa's current run of four wins in five games.

"We missed him dreadfully when he was injured," admitted Bruce. "He has been excellent the last few weeks.

"He plays with a fierce determination. He's a typical Aussie and is ready for a fight. What you see is what you get.

"He's as tough as teak, hard as nails, proper old-school if you like who has done very, very well for the club."

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