Aston Villa

Aston Villa looked bereft of energy without Ollie Watkins in midweek against Everton – they must sign another striker in the summer to lighten the load. 

That is according to ex-Premier League forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Watkins returned to the starting lineup for Villa’s 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The 25-year-old missed Thursday’s 0-0 draw with the Toffees through suspension after he was sent off against Man United last weekend.

Aston Villa

That was the first league match the England hopeful has missed all season.

Watkins, a £28million summer signing from Brentford, has 15 Premier League goals this campaign.

And Whelan claims that Dean Smith must diversify their goal threat by adding another striker in the upcoming transfer window.

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“I think they need to address that in the summer with a new striker signing,” he told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.

“They really missed his pace and his movement against Everton. You do see what a good player he is when he’s not actually in the side.

“That energy and work rate he brings are things that Gareth Southgate loves about him.

“If you’re going to start progressing as a team, you can’t just hope that one striker is going to be there all season. There might be illness, injuries or suspensions.

“They have got to have another option. They need someone who can deliver that same energy and work the backline like Ollie Watkins does.”

Aston Villa

Anwar El Ghazi is Villa’s second-top scorer with 10 goals.

Youngsters Keinan Davis and Louie Barry are the only strikers besides Watkins to have netted for Villa in 2020-21.

In other news, 2019 signing not expected to be at Aston Villa next season as transfer plans revealed.