In a recent interview with Football FanCast, former Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood has made a claim about Ollie Watkins’ chances of featuring in the England squad for the Euros this summer, and if his claim turns out to be true, then it could well be good news for Dean Smith.
Speaking exclusively to FFC about Watkins’ chances of being called up, Harewood said:
“I wouldn’t rule it out. But with the calibre of strikers that we have now, I can’t see him being ahead of the majority of them that can play up there because you’ve [also] got the likes of Sterling and players like that can play up front now.”
Whilst Watkins will undoubtedly be hoping to receive his first England cap in the near future after an impressive debut campaign in the Premier League, keeping him away from Gareth Southgate’s squad could allow Smith to hold on to the 25-year-old for a while longer.
Since signing from Brentford in the summer transfer window for a club-record fee of £28 million, the striker, who reportedly earns £75k per week, has been a huge part of Villa’s success this season, contributing 10 goals and three assists in 27 Premier League appearances, resulting in an impressive 7.23 rating.
This includes an impressive hat-trick in Villa’s 7-2 win against Liverpool earlier in the season, with the young striker having also formed an excellent partnership with Jack Grealish this season, with the duo arguably the two most influential and valuable players in Smith’s squad.
If Watkins were to receive an England call-up, you could argue that it would attract the attention of the clubs in the Premier League who are regulars in the Champions League and Europa League, which could lead to Watkins having his head turned.
Tottenham Hotspur were linked with a move for the striker in the summer before his move to Villa and now that he has established himself in the top-flight, perhaps we could see them return for him in the future, especially if he starts performing on the international stage.
Furthermore, the youngster getting a well-earned break in the summer could be hugely beneficial to Villa, especially after such a demanding season.
Therefore, if Harewood’s claim comes true and Watkins is left out of Southgate’s squad for the upcoming friendlies and Euros, then it may well prove to be a boost to Villa.
And, in other news… Tyrone Mings let Smith down with a shocking display vs Newcastle