Kevin Phillips insists it will be “almost impossible” for Wesley to break back into the Aston Villa team in 2021 given the form of Ollie Watkins.

The former Claret and Blue, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, heaped praise on Watkins, 24, who has been “on fire” since arriving at Villa Park.

Wesley has been sidelined since New Years Day after he ruptured his cruciate ligament against Burnley but the club have uploaded future on to their official Twitter account of him working on his fitness at Bodymoor Heath.

The Brazilian, who arrived from Club Brugge for a fee of £22.5million last year, returned to the training ground last month and is expected to be back in contention after Christmas.

However, with summer signing Ollie Watkins scoring six goals in his first seven Premier League appearances, Wesley’s route back into the starting eleven looks difficult.

When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of Dean Smith’s striking options, Phillips said:

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“It is going to be almost impossible for Wesley to get into that team unless Watkins picks up an injury.

“Watkins has started the season on fire and I always thought that he would score goals.

“The only question was whether they could create enough opportunities and with Grealish staying, McGinn returning to full fitness and Barkley arriving they have a lot of players who can create.

“The good thing about Watkins is his positioning. He just plays within the width of the six-yard box. He rarely comes out wide and gets involved in the play, he leaves that up to the others and that is what a natural goalscorer does.

“He just wants to get in the box and score goals. I have been very impressed with him.

“Dean Smith will be delighted to have Wesley back but he will be over the moon with Watkins.” 

In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Phillips wowed by Villa midfielder after key update.