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Dean Smith heaps praise on Ollie Watkins and Ross Barkley after Arsenal win

Aston Villa picked up a 3-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League over the weekend and Dean Smith is delighted with the impact Ollie Watkins has made since his move from Brentford.

The 24-year-old striker managed to score a brace against the Gunners and Smith believes that he never doubted the striker’s potential.

The Aston Villa manager also revealed that Watkins has the attitude and application needed to get better with time.

Smith said: “When people saw the money I was paying for him, I didn’t need to have doubts about that. I certainly didn’t.

“He hasn’t surprised me, that’s for sure. I’ve said many times and I’ve spoke very well about him, he’s just a wonderful man to have around; his attitude, application and his want to get better.

“At times I thought he was a little bit loose up to feet in the first half but his willingness to work back when he made a mistake is brilliant. It’s infectious as well.

“I was always confident he would hit the ground running. The kid’s a young lad but he’s played 250 games. It’s easy to forget that he was a regular at Exeter when he broke through and a regular for three or four years at Brentford as well.

“When you’ve been playing that amount of games you understand the game and, working with better players, certainly helps that’s for sure.”

Aston Villa were in desperate need of a quality striker last season and Watkins’ impact will delight the fans. It will be interesting to see if the young striker can build on his impressive start to life at Aston Villa and help the club secure a respectable finish in the Premier League this season.

Meanwhile, Dean Smith has heaped praise on Ross Barkley as well.

The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been in outstanding form since his move to Aston Villa and Dean Smith claims that the 26-year-old has added a different dimension to his side.

Smith said: “Yes, he does. He was obviously a marquee signing for us on loan. He’s been around a club that are perennial winners. He wanted game time and to get into the Euro squad.

“His performances at the moment will certainly be nudging Gareth showing he’s hungry and looking the business at the moment. I thought he played extremely well.”

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