Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard insisted Diego Carlos has "a part to play" for the team despite being set for a long injury absence.

The Brazilian ruptured an Achilles tendon during last weekend's 2-1 victory over Everton and could be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Signed for an initial £26million from Sevilla in June, the Brazilian's injury is a significant blow to both the club and the player – who will have hoped to push his way into Brazil's World Cup squad in November.

Gerrard believes there is still a role for the defender to play for Villa this season, however, and intends to use his experience behind the scenes.

"It's certainly a blow to lose a player of his importance. He had successful surgery yesterday, so it's important that we look forward and try to be positive," Gerrard said ahead of Villa's trip to Crystal Palace.


"Each day that passes he's closer to a return, and we'll give him all the patience and support he needs from a medical point of view.

"It's important that he stays in amongst the group because he's still got a part to play. That's something which is forgotten in football: injured players taking a back seat. I don't want that to be the case. I want him to be very much involved in the dressing room and to show his leadership skills."

There has been speculation Villa could dip into the transfer market for a replacement, given the injury, and Gerrard said the club are weighing up their options.

"It's something we are analysing, we still have three fully fit centre-backs and Kortney Hause is back in full training," Gerrard said. "We have time to decide if we need more support in that area."