Alan Hutton feels Aston Villa will be cautious in their approach to Wesley’s return as the striker needs time to ‘get up to speed’.
Wesley, 24, has been out of action since picking up a nasty knee problem on New Year’s Day 2020. The Brazilian suffered a severe cruciate knee ligament injury following a tackle from Burnley’s Ben Mee.
The initial prognosis suggested that the former Club Brugge man could be back in nine months. But, he played his first competitive football on March 26 this year in a friendly with West Brom.
It has been a slow process for the South American, with hours rehabbing the injury. And Hutton believes it is vital that there is a structured programme to reintroduce him to first-team action.
“Nobody wants to see anybody have a serious injury. When you’re talking 14, 15 months, that’s an absolute nightmare for a professional footballer,” the former Villa defender told Football Insider.
“It’s about managing him. It’s been such a long time, it’s totally different from the likes of Jack. You need to monitor his minutes bring him in here and there.
“I think it’ll still take a while. These injuries, you can’t just play one game, two games and then you’re automatically back in. It can take him a couple of months to get really up to speed and back to what he was like before.”
Wesley a big miss for Villa
Before injury struck, Wesley had started all 21 Premier League games in 2019-2020. The man with one Brazil cap scored five goals, including the opener against the Clarets before his 27th-minute exit.
He looked set to make a big contribution to the West Midlanders after Villa paid £22m for his services. He is still young enough to bounce back and enjoy a successful time at Villa Park.
But Hutton knows from experience that it is vital to take baby steps after such a long time on the sidelines.
“I was out in my last season, I missed 10 weeks with a knee injury and it took me a while to get back even from that,” he added. “That was only a 10 week injury, not 15 months. You have to be real careful, we don’t want more setbacks.
“You just want to check all the boxes as you go through it. Don’t rush it because there’s no need. The season’s coming to an end. Yes, he wants to get back playing but there’s no need to rush him back.”