Boss Remi Garde has questioned Charles N’Zogbia’s commitment and insisted he must work harder to earn an Aston Villa recall.
The midfielder has been left out of Garde’s last three squads and is unlikely to return to face old club Newcastle on Saturday with Villa bottom of the Barclays Premier League.
N’Zogbia came off the bench in Garde’s first game, a 0-0 draw with Manchester City last month and the 4-0 defeat to Everton, but has not played since and is out of contract in June.
“Charles could have given more than he has given to the team in the first two or three weeks when I came,” said Garde. “Charles’ story with Aston Villa is a long one, with some difficult stuff, and he is ending his contract soon.
“Sometimes it’s not the best way to be fully committed in a football club in the situation we are in.
“Charles is not the worst person I have ever met. I am just here to try to pick up the players I feel who are the most committed for this very difficult task we have. I am not saying Charles is a bad person. Sometimes it doesn’t work between players and clubs, players and managers.”
N’Zogbia joined from Wigan for around £9million on a five-year deal in 2011 and is one of Villa’s best paid players and Garde would not rule out allowing him to leave in January.
“It’s not only about Charles. When you are wearing the shirt and defending the club’s colours you need to be peaceful with everyone, the football club, manager, team mates,” he said.
“Sometimes it happens where the situation is not like that and there is a possibility, twice in the season, where you can go to the manager and say ‘I’m not happy, I want to leave’.
“Then you have to listen and see if we can find a good solution for all parties. If that’s the case I will listen to all the players.”
But Garde admitted he may need to move on some top earners who are not playing.
He added: “It’s a situation I need to change and clear. If you spend a lot of money on players who aren’t playing it will be very bad news for the team and everyone at the football club. I’m blaming nobody.”