By Peter Lynch

17th Nov, 2023 | 8:11am

Ollie Watkins deserves England start amid table-topping statistic, Aston Villa ace in ‘form of his life’

Ollie Watkins is enjoying another superb season at Aston Villa, with Unai Emery really taking the striker to another level.

The England forward has banged in 11 goals from 19 matches in all competitions, as well as chipping in with five assists.

Watkins has netted six goals in the Premier League to help fire Villa to fifth place after 12 matches, with his five Europa Conference League goals keeping their European dream alive.

In fact, only two players have been directly involved in more league goals than Watkins (26) in 2023, with the Villa ace recording 18 goals and eight assists.

Manchester City star Erling Haaland leads the way with 36 (28 goals, eight assists), followed by Liverpool hero Mohamed Salah with 34 (22 goals, 12 assists), as per Sky Sports (15 November)

Watkins then moves into second place when it comes to attacking runs this season, but he tops the pile for runs that challenge the back line with 451.

Suggesting that the Villa star is “in the form of his life,” Sky Sports journalist Adam Bate noted (15 November) that Watkins leads the way in this area “by some distance,” with the England man “continually trying to run in behind, testing the offside trap and stretching the opposition defence.”

Tottenham ace Son Heung-min (386) and Manchester City star Haaland (380) are well behind in second and third respectively.

Watkins has been unstoppable at club level, but he must now be given an opportunity from the start for England in one or both of their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifying games.

In other Aston Villa news, the Midlands club made a superb transfer call as a new 88% player produces a leading statistic.