Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is “enamoured” with striker Ollie Watkins, according to journalist Luke Hatfield.
What did Hatfield say about Smith’s opinion of Watkins?
Having joined Villa from Brentford last September, Watkins has been an almost ever-present for the club over the last 12 months, and Hatfield believes that Smith is a big admirer of the 25-year-old due to his well-rounded skillset.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT about Watkins, Hatfield said: “Complete striker is a really good way to put it with Watkins. He offers so much more than just the odd goal here and there. It’s his work rate, it’s his pressing, which has obviously enamoured Dean Smith with him. And he’s vital for Villa.”
What is Watkins’ record at Villa?
Hatfield has pointed out that Watkins is more than just a goalscorer, but it should be noted that his record in front of goal has been impressive since he moved to Villa Park.
In his debut Premier League campaign last term, Watkins found the net on 14 occasions, and he added two further goals when in cup action.
The England international is yet to get off the mark this season after missing the opening two matches through injury, and the £75,000-a-week player will be hoping to open his account tomorrow when the team face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup.
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What does this mean for Villa’s starting line-up moving forwards?
Smith faces the difficult task of keeping all of his attacking players happy this season after bringing in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings over the summer.
Thus far, he has struggled to fit all of these players into the same team, as Bailey is yet to start a league game since joining from Bayer Leverkusen last month. In the side’s last two top-flight games, Smith has moved away from his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, to play a 3-5-2 which accommodates Watkins and Ings.
This has brought mixed results as Villa were beaten 3-0 by Chelsea before winning by the same scoreline against Everton on Saturday.
The Villa boss must now decide whether to stick with this system or revert back to his old setup. Whichever he chooses, though, it seems very likely that Watkins will be selected in the starting XI based on Hatfield’s comments, either operating alongside Ings up top, or playing ahead of him as the team’s lone striker.