Bruce blames himself after ‘worst-ever’ display

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Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce said he regretted starting with some of his young internationals after the goalless draw with Brentford.

Midfielder Josh Onomah played for England Under-21s this week, while forwards Keinan Davis and Andre Green featured for the Under-20s.

The promising trio started against the Bees but all had to come off during the second half with slight injuries, replaced by the more senior Scott Hogan, Robert Snodgrass and Gabby Agbonlahor.

“Keinan yesterday was sore, complaining of a bit of a hip problem,” Bruce said. “Greeny and Josh have picked up muscle injuries.

“So in hindsight, I blame myself a little bit. With my experience, I should have been better.

“There was no real freshness, too many had been away on international duty and we were as flat as we could be.

“That’s arguably the worst we’ve been since I’ve been here.”

Talisman Jonathan Kodjia, who broke his ankle in defeat at Fulham in April, is close to a return, with an appearance for the Under-23s slated for Monday.

And Bruce said the striker could even be included in the squad for the home game with Middlesbrough on Tuesday if he comes through the second-string match.

He added: “We’d love Kodjia to be back but he’s had a fractured ankle, so it’s important for him to get through 45 minutes on Monday night.

“If he does, it puts him in contention for Tuesday.”