Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has heaped praise on Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins after he scored another two goals in a 3-0 victory over Newcastle on Saturday.
What caused Carragher to praise Watkins?
Watkins stole the show in Saturday’s win over Newcastle, scoring twice and assisting the other in a 3-0 win over Newcastle.
He could have even scored more as he also hit the post, had a strike ruled out for a narrow offside, and forced Nick Pope into several impressive saves in the Magpie’s goal.
He received an astounding 9.7 WhoScored rating, having six shots, 85% pass accuracy, and winning an aerial dual superbly to contort his body mid-air and deliver a perfect knockdown for Jacob Ramsay to score the opening goal.
It drew praise from his manager Unai Emery who told BBC Sport after the game that Watkins’ performance was “fantastic“.
This was all done in front of the watching England boss Gareth Southgate who must now surely see him as the second choice behind captain Harry Kane on current form.
What did Carragher say about Watkins?
“What a performance from Ollie Watkins” after the Englishman netted his first goal.
He then added “Unstoppable” after Watkins slid his second and Villa’s third past the despairing dive of Pope.
How good has Watkins been under Emery?
Under Emery, Villa have shot up the Premier League table from being potentially relegation-threatened under former coach Steven Gerrard, to now within six points of a Champions League spot.
Since the Spaniard’s arrival, Watkins has been symbolic of the brilliant form Villa have found under their new manager.
The 27-year-old has registered 11 goals in his last 12 league games and has directly contributed to 17 goals in 19 matches – including four assists.
To put these numbers into perspective, Watkins has more combined goals and assists since the turn of the year (14) than Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland (13).
The Devon-born marksman has put his recent success down to a change in his style of play.
Speaking before the match on Saturday he said: “I’m being smart with my runs. Before maybe I was running into the channels and into the corners and doing a lot of work for the team. Now I’m staying within the width of the box and timing my runs.” (via Birmingham Mail)
If Watkins can continue this brilliant run of form, Villans fans will be dreaming of European football next season and, potentially, even the Champions League.