Aston Villa

Darren Bent believes Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins will still be criticised if he does not follow up his hat-trick against Liverpool with more goals soon.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor, the former Villa and England forward said manager Dean Smith will give the 24-year-old a lot of time to justify his £33million price tag.

Football Insider revealed on Saturday that Watkins was “desperate” to join Tottenham Hotspur before deciding to link-up with his former manager at Villa Park.


The Englishman was happy to be Harry Kane’s back-up but became frustrated at the length of time it was taking Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to negotiate with Brentford.

He has started all three of Villa’s Premier League games and grabbed a ‘perfect’ hat-trick in their sensational 7-2 victory over Liverpool before the international break.

“It’s still early days, I know he has got a hat-trick against the Premier League champions and the best centre-back in the world,” Bent told Football Insider.

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“Listen, I never had any doubts, you’re still going to get pessimistic people all the time.

“Even though he got a hat-trick against Liverpool but if he goes the next four or five games and doesn’t score you’re going to get the rumbles ‘was it a fluke? was it this? was it that?’

“What he’s got to do is build off this now. It’s an absolute superb hat-trick against the Premier League champions, he played really, really well.

“What stands him in good stead is that he’s got good movement.

“If he keeps his movement going and stays sharp in and around the box, he’ll always have opportunities because he’s quick and he’s a good finisher and that will settle him down massively.

“Also he’s going to get more time than other strikers because Dean Smith signed him and really believes him.

“Dean Smith took him to Brentford, clearly believes in him so he’s going to get more time than others.”

In other news, Alan Hutton has told a ‘Fantastic’ Aston Villa player he knows very well to quit the club.