By Kevin Phillips

29th Jan, 2020 | 10:39am

'Didn't look right' - Exclusive: Phillips believes Villa ace has struggled with Smith demands

Kevin Phillips says that Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi looked completely out of place after playing as a makeshift striker in recent weeks.

The former Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that signing a new striker was a must after watching the Dutchman toil in his attempts to lead the line.

El Ghazi has played the last three Premier League games as a striker but moved back to the right wing to accommodate new centre-forward Mbwana Samatta in the club’s League Cup victory over Leicester City on Tuesday night.

Phillips says that goals are a must for Dean Smith’s men in the second half of the season and that El Ghazi is clearly not the answer after looking comfortable in playing through the middle.

Phillips told Football Insider: “They were starting with El Ghazi up top and it just didn’t look right. It almost looked like El Ghazi wasn’t sure how to play the role.

“They obviously need someone up there to try and get them the goals. They’ve bought Samatta but that again, can he hit the ground running?”

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El Ghazi has been a mainstay for Smith after turning his loan move from Lille permanent last summer, with 26 appearances, six goals and six assists under his belt this season.

The 24-year-old has played 63 times for the Villans, while he also has 99 games to his name for Ajax and two international caps for the Netherlands.

In other Aston Villa news, Paul Robinson has been left raving over a “very, very clever” transfer move.