Injuring himself late in the 2016-17 season, Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodja missed the beginning of the current campaign, much to Steve Bruce’s frustration.
Returning in week seven, the 29-year-old striker brought a much needed attacking impetus to the side as the Villains climbed up the table with five wins, two draws and a loss in eight games.
Scoring two goals and picking up an assist along the way, there’s no denying Kodja is a good striker, even if some still aren’t convinced he was worth the £11m+ the club paid for him in the first place.
Also an Ivory Coast international, the player’s injury meant that, since Marc Wilmots took over as the country’s new manager, his country had to do without him in recent World Cup qualifiers.
In fact, his and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha’s absences really frustrated the former Belgian coach, who rates the pair highly.
Perhaps a bit too much.
In a recent interview with DH, Wilmots explained the reasons behind a rather disappointing run at qualifying for the World Cup, with a make or break tie against Morocco on Saturday: a win, and they go to Russia, anything less, and they’re out.
He said: “I managed to convince some Franco-Ivorians to come help the country because there just isn’t enough in the local leagues. Tiémoué Bakayoko (Chelsea) said yes before changing his mind, when he was meant to be my starting number six.
“I also have two world class strikers in Wilfried Zaha and Jonathan Kodjia but they’ve never been available to me”.
We’re not sure if 38 goals in 93 Championship games can be classified as ‘world-class’, but to each their own.
Regardless, there’s no denying Aston Villa’s Kodjia has his uses, and Wilmots could really do with them right now.