For Aston Villa’s Tommy Elphick, he knows the next few months could be crucial in determining where he will be next season, with his deal at Villa Park running out.
At 31, his next contract is a crucial one in terms of his long-term future as it’s perhaps the last time he could be offered a few years by a club.
Yet, comments from Dean Smith about reducing the age in the squad suggest it will be hard for the Bournemouth man to convince the boss he should be in his plans moving forward.
However, Elphick told the Guardian his only focus is on playing well for Villa and helping them into the play-offs and then hopefully the Premier League – which is the perfect attitude to have.
Firstly, Smith is clearly a fan of the player as he has played him regularly since he returned from Hull, so that should reassure him.
But, more importantly, this is not a situation Elphick can control.
If Villa want to go in a different direction in the summer, he has to accept it. If they’re in the Premier League they may think he’s not good enough, whilst in the Championship they may want to bring in younger players.
Either way, that’s up to the club and they will decide.
Therefore, there’s no point getting worked up about what will happen. Instead, Elphick can continue to give his all over the remainder of the season and he will benefit regardless.
Helping this Villa side back to the top-flight will ensure he is a favourite among the fans and good performances will not go unnoticed if he does need to find a new club in the summer.
So, even though it’s an awkward position to be in, Elphick knows that playing to his best is the only way to help himself ahead of an uncertain summer.