Talking Point

Carlos Alberto Sanchez Moreno is his full name. But when Carlos Sanchez arrived at Aston Villa he was billed simply as ‘The Rock’.

He had a tough time during two years at Villa and it is only his recent presence at the World Cup that has brought a largely forgotten former player back into the headlines.

A red card just 180 seconds into Colombia’s first group game reminded Villa fans of his rashness on the ball. When England took on Columbia it was Sanchez again in the headlines after fouled the England captain Harry Kane during a free-kick to be awarded a penalty against Columbia.

The former Aston Villa man rugby tackled Kane to floor and effectively handed the Spurs striker his sixth goal of the World Cup and the Golden Boot. Sanchez received death threats on social media from his own countrymen after they crashed out of the world cup. Police in Colombia launched an investigation into a series of online death threats made against Sánchez;

It was a chilling reminder of the murder of Andrés Escobar, who was gunned down days after scoring an own goal for Colombia at the 1994 World Cup, several social media users have targeted the former Aston Villa midfielder with vile messages threatening his life. One social media message read: “If Andrés Escobar was killed for scoring an own goal, then Carlos Sánchez should be murdered and his dead body pissed on,”

A carpenter’s son, Sanchez grew up in Quibdo, one of Colombia’s poorest cities, playing football in the streets of his Las Margaritas neighbourhood.

He was 14 years of age before he had the luxury of playing in football boots, having been selected for the Alexis Garcia academy at Medellin.Instead of joining a Colombian club, he moved to Uruguay, playing alongside Edinson Cavani at Danubio and then going to River Plate Montevideo. While there he won his first cap for Colombia before securing a move to Europe at the age of 21 in 2007, joining Valenciennes in France for a six-year spell.

He moved to Elche in Spain for the 2013-14 campaign and helped them stay in La Liga. Sanchez was signed by Paul Lambert in August 2014. It was to be Lambert’s final season at Aston Villa. By then the midfielder was 28. He arrived for a reported fee of £4.7 million, signing a four year contract.

In August 2016, after Villa’s relegation, Sánchez was loaned to Serie A club Fiorentina for a season.  The move was made permanent for £2.7m at the end of the season. In January 2018, Sánchez returned to La Liga on loan to RCD Espanyol for the remainder of the season. Transfer Market values him around £1.8m athough the Sun newspaper claim we could pay as much as £4m.

An aggressive and powerful footballer, Sanchez is active in midfield and can turn defence into attack. What makes Sanchez indispensable to his previous teams is his high-powered work-rate despite his age.

However he described as dangerous, impulsive and risky, all adjectives to describe Sanchez’s tackling. Another problem in Sanchez’s game is his wastefulness in possession.

In front of goal, Sanchez is limited with only seven goals to his name in his nine year career.

At 32 years of age brings a wealth of experience being an integral part of the Colombian national team and playing top-flight European football. Sanchez sacrifices for the team and would be a cheap squad addition to the squad.