Ollie Watkins gives Gareth Southgate food for thought with Aston Villa hat-trick
Aston Villa star Ollie Watkins has given Gareth Southgate much food for thought after scoring a hat-trick against Brighton on Saturday. The England manager was in attendance at Villa Park as the home side tore apart the high-flying Seagulls, emerging as 6-1 victors.
Watkins bagged three of the goals and also recorded an assist, meaning he now has 10 goal contributions in as many games across all competitions so far. For many, the 27-year-old is, with the obvious exception of Harry Kane, England’s best striker but surprisingly, he hasn’t been capped for the Three Lions since March 2022.
He has just seven caps for his country, scoring two goals and only one of these has come from the start, but that could all change as Southgate finalises his plans for next summer’s Euro 2024.
‘To be honest, I don’t know when he [Southgate] is here,’ Watkins admitted to TNT Sports after the Brighton win. ‘It is nice when he is but I want to perform and score every game. There have been a few times this season when I have been disappointed and there is always a chance to put it right. I am going to enjoy it.’
‘If I haven’t scored, he [manager Unai Emery] continues keep talking to me and telling me to work hard every day and goals will come. Someone told me about my record [against Brighton, ] before the match. Every game I want to score and hurt their defence and it worked today. Collectively, we were second to none. Credit to the boys.’
There have been recent rumours that Watkins is close to agreeing a new deal with Villa, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United keeping tabs on the striker. He was coy on speaking out on contract talks however, adding: ‘I just try and let my football do the talking. My goal is to score goals and help the team win. What happens off the pitch is separate.’
At the time of writing, the win has moved Villa up to third in the Premier League table, just four points behind leaders Manchester City.
Ollie Watkins has certainly given Gareth Southgate something to think about with his hat-trick against Brighton. The 27-year-old has been in fine form this season and is arguably England’s best striker outside of Harry Kane. With Euro 2024 just around the corner, Southgate will be keeping a close eye on Watkins’ progress as he looks to finalise his plans for the tournament.
For more stories like this, check our sport page. Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.