Steven Gerrard caused controversial ahead of the new season by stripping Tyrone Mings of his captaincy and subsequently dropping him for Aston Villa’s opening Premier League defeat to Bournemouth, but Gabriel Agbonlahor says he ‘understands’ why Gerrard made the decision.

John McGinn was confirmed as Villa’s captain for the new season in late-July and Gerrard revealed it was a decision he’d spent months thinking about, so Agbonlahor believes Mings’ future is uncertain if he doesn’t respond positively to this setback.

He said on talkSPORT: “Steven Gerrard is the manager. He decides who he plays. If he doesn’t want to play Tyrone Mings he doesn’t play him. He’s there to make the big decisions and there must be a reason behind it.

“Has he see enough of him in the months he’s been at Aston Villa (to decide) he’s not for him? Did he know two weeks before the start of the season that he wasn’t going to be in the starting lineup?

“You want to name a captain that will start every game. John McGinn is one of Villa’s better players, so I understand Gerrard giving him the armband.” Mings was gracious at the time and put out a statement to McGinn, insisting no animosity or ill-will with the midfielder, but his attitude may be a problem.

When Gerrard dropped Mings against Bournemouth, he was asked if the decision was down to the centre-back’s response to being stripped of the captaincy and he confirmed it.

Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa could remain the defensive partnership for the foreseeable future until Mings’ head is back in the game. Gerrard was very honest about his reasons for taking away the captaincy, saying he wants Mings’ form to improve, but he won’t be given a chance unless he trains with the right attitude.

In other news, here’s why Steven Gerrard is struggling to sell Anwar El Ghazi this summer