Aston Villa’s striker is ‘demanding more of himself every day’

Ollie Watkins Aston Villa

Red-hot Aston Villa centre forward Ollie Watkins is “demanding more of himself every day”, according to his manager, Unai Emery.

Watkins found the net again at the weekend when he plundered the game’s opening goal for Villa in their 1-1 draw at West Ham, registering for the sixth time in seven Premier League appearances overall and his superb run could earn him a spot in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad.

The 27-year-old needs just one more goal to break double figures in the Premier League for the current campaign and Watkins will be targeting bigger numbers between now and May.

Emery thrilled with Watkins impact

Speaking after Aston Villa’s hard-fought 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday, Villains manager Unai Emery spoke in glowing terms about Watkins’s performances and attitude, saying:

“Hopefully he can continue (scoring),” said the Villa boss. “He is very competitive, practicing every day trying to learn and do more work than the team is demanding.

“He is watching individual videos, working on his movement in the box. He has the spirit to improve, being demanding of himself every day.

“We have to help him in terms of getting the ball into the box. He is also helping the team defensively. He is the first one trying to stop the opposition and is doing a competitive job.

Unai Emery Aston Villa

Watkins can improve even further says Emery

Emery went on to detail how Watkins can take his game to even higher levels, saying:

“I am being demanding with him. Trying to improve in the small spaces, to move better. Trying to be in the box and being more efficient.

“His movement and comfort with the ball, that is his improvement, where he can add to his performance. He is demanding and critical of himself, listening a lot to everything we are saying.”

Watkins will be hoping that his improved output in front of goal will have impressed England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of the Three Lions’ European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine later this month.

The poacher has already represented his country seven times since making his debut in 2021 against San Marino. Watkins managed to open his account for England in the same game with his first shot on target.

Emery satisfied with point in London

Aston Villa had to be content with a point at the London Stadium against West Ham, despite taking an early lead through Watkins. However, despite conceding a 26th-minute Said Benrahma equalizer from the spot, Emery seemed satisfied with his team’s display in the capital overall.

“West Ham are a very good team, playing today under pressure to escape the bottom of the table.

“I played here once before and lost. Villa also lost here the last time they played. We know how difficult it is.

“There were a lot of good things we did and other things we have to improve on but the result is positive. We had two options before the match.

“One was to escape the bottom of the table definitively, by winning the match. The draw does not do that but we maintain the distance with West Ham.”

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