By Jonty Banks

15th Apr, 2023 | 4:00pm

Jacob Ramsey gives Gareth Southgate food for thought - Three things learned in Aston Villa win v Newcastle

Unai Emery’s Aston Villa side were in irresistible form as they dismantled Newcastle 3-0 at Villa Park to further increase their claims for European football.

An early strike from Jacob Ramsey and an Ollie Watkins brace helped Villa stretch their unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight matches.

Emery’s side could have made the scoreline read five or six goals to nil on Saturday (15 April), with Ramsey and Watkins both hitting the woodwork, and the latter also having a goal ruled out in a marginal offside call.

Here are three things we learned from the inch-perfect display at Villa Park.

Ramsey gives Southgate food for thought

With Gareth Southgate watching from the stands of Villa Park, the strong performance of Ramsey would have given the England manager plenty to ponder.

Ramsey set Villa on their way with a well-taken goal and was a constant threat alongside Alex Moreno down the left flank, providing four key passes and an assist for Watkins’ second goal. [Sofascore]

After captaining the England Under-21s in the most recent international break, Ramsey will certainly have popped up on Southgate’s radar for first-team selection over the past few weeks.

Even off the ball, the academy product wasn’t afraid to do the dirty work, nipping in with two tackles, one interception and engaging in 13 ground duels. The 21-year-old has potentially been the biggest success story of the Emery era – away from the mind-boggling form of Watkins – and has continued to move from strength to strength in Villa’s midfield.

Fast starters

Aston Villa continued their staggering trend of quick starts in the Premier League after Jacob Ramsey rattled Villa’s opener home after just 11 minutes of the encounter at Villa Park.

The Englishman scored the club’s 11th goal from the opening 15 minutes of games this season – the best record of any Premier League side this term.

Villa’s fast starts have become custom ever since the departure of Steven Gerrard, with quick-fire goals working perfectly for Emery’s tactical framework, in which he enjoys sitting back in a narrow formation once as the game progresses.

The early goal also carried on the Spaniard’s simply crazy record of a goal scored in all 18 matches of his time in the Villa dugout.

Watkins justifies contract chatter

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported that Aston Villa were readying a bumper new contract for Ollie Watkins at Villa Park – one that would make him one of the club’s highest earners.

And on the evidence of his faultless display against Newcastle, he thoroughly deserves whatever sky-high figure Villa dream up for his contract.

The Englishman, who has scored 11 goals from his last 12 Premier League outings, has also netted the joint most goals since the World Cup, alongside Manchester City’s goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland.

During his 90-minute masterclass, Watkins completed 25 of his 26 passes, scored twice, assisted Ramsey’s goal and completed two out of his three dribbles.

Villa need to ensure they get Watkins putting pen to paper as soon as possible before the Premier League’s top-six clubs come snooping for the Englishman’s services in the summer transfer window.

In other Aston Villa news, we can exclusively reveal that Manchester United are set to sign this highly-rated Villa player.