Express & Star

Unai Emery delighted after defender answers call

Unai Emery has praised Calum Chambers’ professionalism after the defender answered injury-hit Villa’s SOS call.

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Chambers made his first Premier League appearance of the season in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest after Pau Torres was forced off at half-time.

The 29-year-old turned down offers to leave both last summer and during the January transfer window, despite Emery telling him he was unlikely to play.

Villa’s backline has since lost Ezri Konsa and Diego Carlos to injury, with Chambers on standby to start at Luton on Saturday should Torres not be available.

Emery said: “I told him: ‘Stay ready. In practice, stay focused on everything we are doing’.

“I have included him in everything and on Saturday we needed him and he played. I am very happy for him.

“He’s appreciated in the dressing room, a very good man who I respect a lot.

“As a professional I decided, even last summer, to let him leave and the same in January. He decided to stay here and I always respect him.”

Villa remain cautiously optimistic Torres, who was forced off with muscle pain, will be ready to face the Hatters.

Chambers only previous appearances prior to Saturday this season came in the Carabao Cup and Europa Conference League, though he has not been included in Villa’s squad for the knockout stages of the latter competition.