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In May 2021, as Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for that summer’s European Championships, the Three Lions boss went out of his way to namecheck Ezri Konsa.

The Aston Villa defender might have been forced to watch that agonising penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy from the comfort of his own sofa but the message was clear. Keep performing like this and a seat on the plane to Qatar could be yours.

“There are other (centre-backs) we’ve been looking at that we really like,” Southgate said, via the Birmingham Mail. “Ezri Konsa has had a good season at Aston Villa.”

11 months ago, a first ever international call up appeared to be within Konsa’s grasp. These days, his place in the Aston Villa side, let alone the England one, is under serious threat.

The former Charlton youngster, so often unflappable in the face of pressure, was anything but on Saturday afternoon as Steven Gerrard’s side lost for the fourth Premier League game in a row.

He was arguably at fault for Tottenham’s first three goals at Villa Park, failing to clear in the build up to Heung-Min Son’s third minute opener before being dragged from pillar to post by the irrepressible Harry Kane.

This wasn’t the first below-par performance Konsa has produced in 2021/22. Dean Smith criticised the defender publicly following his red card in October’s 4-1 hammering at home to West Ham United. He was sent for an early bath against Leeds a few months later as well.

But, at least according to the Express and Star, that error-strewn performance against Tottenham was ‘possibly his worst afternoon in a Villa shirt’.

He could have no complaints about his 3/10 match rating.

“Konsa and (Tyrone) Mings are not good enough,” former Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood tells Premier League TV.

“The consistency level is just not there. They need to find defenders or they need to improve the ones they’ve got.”

And reports from Sky Deutschland claiming that the Midland have opened talks with Borussia Monchengladbach’s Germany international Matthias Ginter certainly suggest that Villa and Sherwood are on the same page.

Matt Targett for Lucas Digne, Wesley Moraes for Ollie Watkins, Frederic Guilbert for Matty Cash, Tom Heaton for Emi Martinez; Aston Villa have made a habit of swapping good players for great ones in the last two years.

And replacing Konsa with Ginter would certainly follow in that tradition.

“Ginter has become a leader at the back, in a similar way to Sergio Ramos at Real (Madrid),” Ballon D’Or winner Lothar Matthaus says of a man set to become a free-agent in July.

“He doesn’t just give instructions to his teammates, but leads them as well. That’s what Ginter is doing really well at the moment. He reminds me of Ramos.”

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