Dean Smith was full of praise for Anwar El Ghazi after the Aston Villa winger scored twice in Friday’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. El Ghazi has scored three times in as many games since returning to the first-team and Smith called the 23-year-old “top class” and said the loanee has “great skill”.
Smith said to the club’s official website: “His whole demeanour in training has been very good. His attitude is top class. He’s certainly a threat. He has great feet, great skill. He’s a good player. There’s always a transition period when you come into the Championship.
“It’s very hard physically. But Anwar is back and he’s ready. I keep saying to the players that there will be opportunities – and you have to be ready. As I have said before, we played a behind closed doors friendly and Anwar scored four goals and he could have scored more.”
Since making the season-long loan move from LOSC Lille over the summer, El Ghazi has contributed five goals in eight Championship appearances and finally looks full of confidence. He made four appearances under Steve Bruce at the start of the season before finding himself in and out of the squad between late-September and late-November.
After working hard to impress his manager in training, however, he’s reaping the rewards and is likely to keep his place on the wing against Stoke City on Saturday. Villa have stiff competition from the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Albert Adomah and Jonathan Kodjia which may be getting the best of El Ghazi as he doesn’t want to lose his spot in the team.
Smith is delighted with the progress he’s made in recent weeks and supporters must also be impressed with what they’ve seen.