Aston Villa team news: Gerrard facing 'the same headache as Dean Smith' over £28.8m star


Journalist Luke Hatfield reckons that Steven Gerrard has got a similar “headache” to Dean Smith at Aston Villa in regards to where Ollie Watkins should play.

Watkins spent the start of the campaign playing through the middle alongside Danny Ings under Dean Smith, but moved out to the left in Gerrard’s first game against Brighton.

What’s the latest news with Watkins?

Having enjoyed an outstanding first season at Premier League level in 2020-2021, scoring 14 league goals, Watkins has struggled to replicate his form this term.

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Watkins, valued at £28.8m by Transfermarkt, missed the opening two games through injury and didn’t make his first start of the season until the middle of September.

But since returning to the XI, the former Brentford man hasn’t missed a minute and is slowly starting to find his feet following a tricky start.

He scored his first goal of the season against Tottenham last month and has struck twice more against West Ham and then in the victory over Brighton.

Ironically, that was the first time that Watkins had played on the wing this season, having been used centrally in a front-two with Danny Ings previously.

But Hatfield reckons that Gerrard has a dilemma on his hands as to whether to persist with Watkins as a winger or to change his position moving forward.



What did Hatfield say?

He told GIVMESPORT: “It’s the same headache that Dean Smith had, that’s what Steven Gerrard has got to contend with, but he’s got to find a way to make it work.”

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Is left wing Watkins’ best position?

Watkins has enjoyed success out wide previously, playing there regularly for Brentford and in his early days at Exeter.

But having scored 39 league goals across the previous two seasons through the middle, the stats would suggest that playing up front is where he produces his best numbers.

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However, with a striker of Ings’ calibre already in Villa’s ranks, moving out to the left is definitely the best decision for the team.

Smith was seemingly against trying this, but having secured victory in his first game as manager last weekend, there’s a good chance Gerrard will continue Watkins on the left and Ings down the middle for the time being.

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