By Frank McAvennie

24th Nov, 2021 | 5:00pm

Pundit issues 'huge' Watkins claim and tips him to go 'all the way to the top' at Aston Villa

Frank McAvennie claims Ollie Watkins can flourish under new Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard.

The former Villains striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insists Watkins is eager to learn under his new manager.

Watkins, 25, bagged his third Premier League goal of the season as Aston Villa beat Brighton 2-0 on Saturday.

This handed Gerrard his first win as Villa boss and gave the club its first win in six league games.

McAvennie claims Watkins will continue to improve under Gerrard and backed him to go “all the way to the top”.

“New managers can have that effect on players,” McAvennie told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

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“Things will have changed in that dressing room. I’m not sure how much respect Dean Smith was getting.

“When Gerrard talks, you shut up and listen. I think that’s what has happened to Watkins.

“I have said it before, I’m a huge fan of his and I think he can go all the way to the top.

“He’s come such a long way in such a short space of time and he’s seeing his hard work pay off.

“I’m delighted he got himself a goal. The challenge now is to keep scoring and keep improving.

“That is something that can definitely happen under Gerrard.”

Villa are next in action against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

They rose to 15th in the table after picking up three points against Brighton.

In other news, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard is said to have struck “clever” transfer January agreement with Rangers board.