Ollie Watkins

Villa boss Emery tips Watkins for England recall before Conference League match

Ollie WatkinsOllie Watkins has scored seven goals in 11 games for Aston Villa so far this season and has not played for England since March 2022.

Ollie Watkins is being backed for an England recall by Aston Villa manager Unai Emery.

HSK Zrinjski visit Villa Park in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, five days after Watkins’ hat-trick against Brighton.

Gareth Southgate also names his England squad for the internationals against Australia and Italy on Thursday.

“I am very happy with him and his commitment to the club is really great,” said Emery of the 27-year-old.

“He is being always ready to learn.

“He’s closer to going with the national team I think because he’s started the season very good.

“Even when he didn’t score in other matches, he was working very well.”

Villa sit fifth in the Premier League after seven matches, but were defeated 3-2 in their Conference League opener by Legia Warsaw.

Thursday’s game at Villa Park is their first European game at the stadium for 13 years.

“For me it’s about trying to write a new history here,” added Emery, who has won the Europa League four times.

“And playing in Europe, the difficulty is every team is very excited in Europe, and to play against Premier League teams is a challenge.

“We must win tomorrow. The first match we played and we lost, now the points are more important.

“It’s not about thinking to play under pressure, it’s about needing to play well, to play with personality, to try to impose our idea and get those three points.”

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