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Dean Smith makes prediction about Ollie Watkins’ England career

Dean Smith predicts a lot more goals for Ollie Watkins after his maiden England call-up and fresh competition upfront at Aston Villa.

Watkins will be looking to add to his 10 Premier League strikes when Spurs visit Villa Park on Sunday.

The forward,25, is thrilled to have received his first full senior call-up this week for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.

Villa paid a club-record £28million for Watkins last September to Brentford, where Smith used to coach.

Smith feels it is a good investment and expects the forward to improve further from international football.

Plus Smith confirmed Villa now finally have their £20m Brazilian striker Wesley back in full training to push Watkins after injuring his knee over a year ago.

The Villa boss, who turned 50 on Friday, said: “Ollie has been a very good investment and one I am thankful the club took.

Villa boss Dean Smith says Ollie Watkins’ attitude and goals have given him a lot to cheer in his career

“We wanted a player who fits our profile which is young, hungry with good qualities.

“We believe he is coachable and can grow in value.

“He has certainly ticked all those boxes so far and will continue to do so.

“He has not reached a ceiling and is probably disappointed with his goals return even though he is in double figures.

“That is a sign of the mental state Oli has.

“Just getting into the England squad won’t be enough knowing Ollie and what he is like.

“He will want to keep getting better and get on the pitch and start games for England and want to score goals for England, which is the way he works and thinks.

“That is why he becomes a better player.

“I called him as soon as it got announced and I could tell how happy he was.

“One of the first questions when I met up with him in the summer was: ‘how can you get me in the England squad?’”

Villa’s Brazilian striker Wesley is now close to returning after a long-term knee injury which will provide Watkins with much greater competition

Watkins has started every League game for Villa leading their line ahead of Spurs’ visit.

He has not had much competition behind him on the bench apart from the raw Keinan Davis,23.

But the return of Wesley will push him after the Brazilian international,24, joined in 2019 from Club Brugge and scored six goals before a serious knee injury in his last game on January 1,2020.

Asked if Wesley’s presence could help Watkins develop further, Smith replied: “Yeah.

“We have competition in pretty much every other position.

“Keinan has not had as much game time as he would probably like and Wes is now coming back and it will be good to get a game under his belt next week behind closed doors.

“Then we will see how close he is to going and pushing Oli Watkins.”

Smith also said he was “hopeful” skipper Jack Grealish would return on Sunday after five games out with a shin injury.




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