Aston Villa team news: Steven Gerrard in 'awkward situation' after £25m Dean Smith gamble

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard

New Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has a “tough” decision to make going forward involving Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings, says journalist Luke Hatfield. 

The Villans welcome Manchester City to Villa Park in the Premier League tonight but will be without Ings, with Gerrard confirming he will miss the game due to injury.

When fit, though, Hatfield believes Gerrard will have to manage an “awkward situation” surrounding the two strikers with only one central role up for grabs.

Have Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings provided Steven Gerrard with a dilemma?

Last season, it was pretty straightforward in regards to who should lead the line for Villa. 

The Midlands club brought Watkins in from Brentford for £28m and he did a pretty good job when called upon. The 25-year-old ended the campaign with 14 league goals, helping his side to finish 11th in the table.

However, things have got a bit more complicated following Ings’ £25m arrival. The England international was recruited by Dean Smith during the summer and is naturally a centre-forward like his compatriot. 

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Gerrard is now tasked with trying to fit both players into his team, which could be tricky if the new Villa boss continues using a one-striker system.

What has Luke Hatfield said about Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings?

From Hatfield’s point of view, it is a tricky situation Gerrard has on his hands, one that could result in him having to make some tough decisions. 

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the Express & Star journalist said: “Yeah, that’s a tough one because it’s an awkward situation. It’s been awkward since the start of the season. 

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“You’ve got two players who are very, very good in that central striker role and you’re only going to play one of them in a 4-3-3, which is what Gerrard will play.”

Should Aston Villa have signed Danny Ings?

Ings’ injury record made signing him a gamble to begin with. However, even considering that and the dilemma Gerrard now has, bringing him in was still a good move.

The former Southampton man has chipped in with a few goals, while Villa did not have too many other alternatives to Watkins.

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Ultimately, Ings is a useful asset to have, especially when you look at his recent goal record. He scored 12 goals in the Premier League last season and an impressive 22 the campaign prior.

The likes of Manchester United and Tottenham were also thought to have been interested in the ex-Liverpool player at one stage, so you could even argue that he was a coup for Villa. Now it is just about finding room for both him and Watkins. 

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