Aston Villa management team

Noel Whelan has waxed lyrical about Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins ahead of tonight’s trip to Chelsea.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker claimed the 24-year-old may be in line for an England call up after an “absolutely brilliant” start to the season.

Watkins grabbed an assist and was unlucky not to score himself as Dean Smith’s side, who were reduced to 10-men on the stroke of half time, beat Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday.

The summer signing has scored eight goals in 16 appearances this term but is goalless in his last six appearances.

Whelan is adamant that the goals will come for the former Brentford man.

“He was absolutely brilliant against Palace,” he told Football Insider.

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“A really, really impressive performance. How he has not got on the scoresheet is beyond me.

“This is a kid who is full of talent and who is very intelligent with his runs. He is strong, can hold the ball up and can run the channels.

“He takes defenders out of their comfort zone. A great player and you can see why they have paid the big money for him.

“Even though they won the game you could see the disappointment on his face. The goals will come for him. He would be more worried if he wasn’t getting into these positions.

“He has so many strings to his bow as a centre-forward. I would be very surprised if he is not looked upon by Gareth Southgate in the near future.”

In other news, top pundit gushes as Aston Villa are linked with attacker who was the subject of £13million bid in the summer.