Mills: Gerrard can transform Watkins after horror Aston Villa reveal
Steven Gerrard can help Ollie Watkins reach new levels at Aston Villa, according to Danny Mills.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and England defender insisted Gerrard will be able to impart wisdom from the top strikers he played with.
Watkins scored the first goal of the Gerrard era against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend.
As quoted by the Express and Star after the game, the new Villa boss hailed the strike as “world-class” and “pure quality”.
After starting out wide against Brighton Watkins was then moved to a central role against Crystal Palace but struggled in the 2-1 win at Selhurst Park.
According to sofascore, he lost possession nine times and lost 16 duels – the most of any player on the pitch.
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Asked whether Gerrard’s arrival in the Midlands can have a positive impact on Watkins, Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “Definitely.
“You’ve just got to keep working hard. Steven Gerrard was an exceptional player and a great finisher.
“He’s obviously worked with the best coaches and top strikers in his playing career. He’ll just say ‘Just think about this, maybe do that’. Watkins will listen because he will have instant respect for him because of what he did as a player.”
Watkins scored 14 times in 37 Premier League games for Aston Villa last season – his first Premier League campaign.
The England international, 25, now has 19 goals and five assists in 51 games across all competitions for the Midlands giant.