With Aston Villa’s disrupted start to the 2021/22 Premier League campaign with pre-season and Covid issues (and a little matter of a ridiculous international break), despite defeat the overall performance against Chelsea gave some hope for the future, and after a poor hour against Everton, Leon Bailey wowed everyone with the impact he had – so hopes are a little bit higher now for what kind of year we might have after Jack Grealish jumped to Manchester City’s socially distanced stadium.
There are a few topics of clear concern to fans after our start to the campaign and one of the biggest is how to get the best out of both Ollie Watkins and summer signing Danny Ings. Sadly so far it seems Ings has played creator whilst Ollie gets the chances and sadly misses a few guilt-edged ones like he did last year.
Ings is already off the mark with two goals in five appearances, but Watkins is waiting to open his account – although it can’t be forgotten he’s only been available for two matches so far, so match sharpness and good confidence are excuses and we know the lad will score after his exploits last year.
And that’s the bit that brings us to England regular in waiting, Ezri Konsa.
Speaking to UMM’s Official YouTube account recently, Konsa was full of praise for Watkins’ ‘crazy’ efforts during training and explained even when sessions are over, he’s back out on the pitch working to take his finishing to the next level.
“He’s so good man. Not just the goal scoring, it’s the work he does off the ball. Non-stop running to help us. His movement is crazy. After training, all he is doing is finishing. He is always out early and he is always willing to learn.”
Ezri’s comments don’t really come as a surprise given the overall attitude and work ethic we’ve seen since Watkins arrived from Brentford, as his engine, desire and ability to chase things down has never been in question. The only mark over his head are those easy chances you would expect someone like Ings to bury without batting an eyelid.
As they develop a greater understanding and as we improve our general play now we’re not lopsided down the left, I have no doubts both will each get their own rewards as the season ticks through the month, and if Ollie can pick up a few hints and tips off Ings, whilst also furthering his own development by working hard – well, we’re all going to benefit then aren’t we.
The fact it was only against Everton that we could actually field what would be considered a full strength side (and even then a few were missing), whilst it’s hardly perfect as we near the end of September, in some ways the jury has to be out until the end of next month as we give players the time to truly get up to speed.
We just have to hope we are still in and around the mix then for the top half.
No better place than Old Trafford to add another three points then and get Ollie off the mark for the year!