‘Improved’ - £28m Aston Villa striker gets glowing praise from Leeds United & Liverpool man

Ollie Watkins has earned the plaudits for his Aston Villa hat-trick. (Image: AFP via Getty Images) Ollie Watkins has earned the plaudits for his Aston Villa hat-trick. (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Ollie Watkins has earned the plaudits for his Aston Villa hat-trick. (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Aston Villa’s man-of-the-moment is getting quite the recognition from English football pundits right now.

Former Aston Villa, Leeds United and Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock has admitted that he has seen a positive change in striker Ollie Watkins.

Watkins scored a hat-trick on the weekend in the 6-1 mauling of Brighton & Hove Albion at Villa Park. The 27-year-old followed up his match-winning goal last week against Chelsea with a sensational performance against the Seagulls.

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His sensational performance earned him a place in WhoScored’s Premier League team of the week, and a perfect 10.00 rating in BirminghamWorld’s match ratings.

Watkins performance has not gone amiss with the wider football public, and now pundits are keen to point out the changes to his game that have happened since the arrival of Unai Emery.

“Another who has improved under Unai Emery,” said Warnock appearing as a pundit on Sky Sports News.

“He really has, he understands his role within the team. He’s actually changed his game up playing alongside Diaby. He now looks to come short and allows Diaby to run in behind. That’s the difference now.

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“He used to play off the shoulder, and it wasn’t predictable but easier to play against. Now he’s switching his game up, very good.”

The 27-year-old only netted his first league of the season against Chelsea in late Semptember, but has come in to form just before Gareth Southgate names his England squad.

The Three Lions have a friendly against Australia, and a EURO 2024 qualifier with Italy later this month, and Watkins will be pushing to be a part of the squad and force his way into Southgates plans.

Warnock, who made 101 appearances over three seasons at Villa Park, has waxed lyrical about his former club in recent weeks after praising the performances of Moussa Diaby following his £51m arrival from Bayer Leverkusen this summer.

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