By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

23rd Sep, 2023 | 5:10pm

'Wildcard' Jhon Duran unlikely to start over Ollie Watkins despite surprise start to Aston Villa season

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports journalist Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

Jhon Duran is unlikely to start over Ollie Watkins in the Premier League this season despite his excellent start to the season, according to Dan Bardell.

The 19-year-old thumped Villa’s equaliser against Crystal Palace with the confidence of a seasoned striker – a sign of things to come as his side eventually claimed a 3-1 home victory. This, added to his effort against Everton, has seen Duran perform beyond expectations this season.

Many questioned if Villa had enough depth in the striker position this season, with Duran and Watkins the only out-and-out options for Unai Emery, but his prolific start has earned him high esteem among the Villa fanbase.

However, Bardell has tipped the youngster to keep his role as an important substitute option for Villa this season, suggesting he would be unlikely to start over or with Watkins.

Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Bardell said: “I think what you saw [against Palace] will be what you’ll see happen throughout the season. Duran will come on for Watkins in games when Villa are comfortable.

“If they’re chasing a game, Emery may play both of them. I can’t envisage too many situations where they’ll both start and I can’t envisage too many situations where Duran would start over Watkins.

“They needed some magic against Palace, and Duran provided it. He’s a bit of a wildcard, a bit raw still, but you always know he’s on the pitch which is a positive thing.

“Just because Watkins hasn’t scored in the league, the underlying numbers show he’s got a few goal contributions and is contributing to the team in an enormous way, creating space for other teammates.

“What Duran has done since the start of the season is perform at a higher level than people would have expected him to be. It’s nice to have that extra option.”

In other Aston Villa news, an Aston Villa Women star has been recognised by FIFA after her “year to remember.”