Agbonlahor axed as Villa probe conduct



Gabriel Agbonlahor has been omitted from Aston Villa’s squad for Saturday’s match at home to Chelsea as the Premier League’s basement club look into the forward’s conduct while on holiday.

The 29-year-old, a product of the Birmingham club’s academy, has only made 15 Premier League appearances so far this season and his future at Villa Park now looks decidedly shaky.

On Friday, a Villa tweet announced that Agbonlahor, pictured apparently smoking a shisha pipe during a recent holiday in Dubai, would not be involved in the Chelsea match while an internal investigation into his behaviour is carried out.

Caretaker manager Eric Black, in charge after Frenchman Remi Garde left on Tuesday, said: “There’s an internal investigation. I spoke to (board member) David Bernstein at length (on Thursday) and the club have taken a decision. I have taken a decision on the footballing side to remove him from the squad, purely because I don’t want anything to distract the players.

“I’ll speak to him again on Monday and then we’ll take it from there. He’s back in and reporting for training.

“I’m not going to go into the details because the investigation is on going. I want us to get back to football and football alone.”

Black removed Villa captain Agbonlahor from his matchday squad after the club’s new football board, headed by former Football Association chairman Bernstein, launched an investigation.

Agbonlahor was pictured with Micah Richards, but the defender will have a chance to face Chelsea.

Black added: “I have spoken to Micah. It’s slightly different circumstances and he’s in the squad.”

Agbonlahor, Villa’s longest-serving current player, signed a four-year contract in 2014 but has scored just once this season.

Villa are 12 points from safety and on course to be relegated from the top flight of English football for the first time since 1987.

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