Sunday, October 2, 2022

Dean Smith Full Of Praise For This Aston Villa Striker: Is He A Star In The Making At Villa Park?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview (via The Birmingham Mail), Dean Smith was full of praise for Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins after he scored a quick-fire brace in the 3-0 win over Arsenal last weekend. Following the match, Smith expressed his delight on the English striker’s performance and said,

“When people saw the money I was paying for him (Watkins), I didn’t need to have doubts about that. I certainly didn’t.

“He hasn’t surprised me, that’s for sure. I’ve said many times and I’ve spoke very well about him, he’s just a wonderful man to have around; his attitude, application and his want to get better.

“At times I thought he was a little bit loose up to feet in the first half but his willingness to work back when he made a mistake is brilliant. It’s infectious as well.

“I was always confident he would hit the ground running. The kid’s a young lad but he’s played 250 games. It’s easy to forget that he was a regular at Exeter when he broke through and a regular for three or four years at Brentford as well.

“When you’ve been playing that amount of games you understand the game and, working with better players, certainly helps that’s for sure.”

Watkins’ Outstanding Start To This Premier League Campaign

Watkins has made a dream start to his life at Villa Park after producing two match-winning displays against Liverpool and Arsenal while scoring five goals in those two games in the process. In total, the English marksman has found the back of the net on eight occasions and provided one assist in ten appearances for the Villans this term in all competitions.

The 24-year-old deserves credit for being consistent with his attacking contributions as he is averaging 2.6 shots, 1.3 key passes and 1.6 dribbles per game in the Premier League. However, he has sometimes given away the ball cheaply when linking up play with others around him in the final third as evidenced by his pass success rate of 65.7% in the top tier of England (stats via whoscored).

Dean Smith full of praise for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins who is seen in the picture
Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa runs with the ball during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Burton Albion and Aston Villa at Pirelli Stadium on September 15, 2020, in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Mike Egerton – Pool/Getty Images)

What Does The English Frontman Offer On The Pitch?

Watkins is blessed with blistering pace, which makes him a hard man to catch when he is running at high speed in the final third. He has proven himself to be a prolific goal-scorer in the Premier League so far as he can get himself into some promising positions to find the back of the net.

However, the English attacker still has a lot to learn if he wants to be a top centre-forward someday. Firstly, Watkins has to be more accurate with his ball-distribution in the offensive end of the field. Plus, he should work on building his upper-body strength so that he can hold the ball up more often and get others involved in and around the opponent’s penalty box.

Is Watkins A Star In The Making At Villa Park?

The way things are going for Watkins, he has every chance of becoming a success story for the West Midlands outfit. He has firmly established himself as Dean Smith’s first-choice striker but only time will tell whether he can continue scoring goals at such a high rate.

Just months after his arrival from Brentford, Watkins is already fighting for the Premier League’s golden boot award which goes to show just how much he has matured as a striker over these last few weeks. Hence, the English prospect is undoubtedly a star in the making at Villa Park as he has all the skill set required to become a consistent goal-scorer under Smith’s guidance in the coming seasons.

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