By Anthony Onifade

20th Nov, 2023 | 5:40pm

Aston Villa: Time for Ollie Watkins to become national hero as England news emerges for clash v North Macedonia

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has been gifted another opportunity for England with Gareth Southgate set to rest Harry Kane v North Macedonia on Monday night (20 November).

Sky Sports reporter, and correspondent for the England national team Rob Dorsett, taking to his personal Twitter account (20 November) shares that Southgate will look to start Watkins with Kane expected to be rested.

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

Dorset tweeted: “Harry Kane expected to be rested for England v North Macedonia tonight, with Aston Villa striker Olly Watkins to start in his place.”

The 27-year-old last featured for the Three Lions in the 1-0 win over Australia at Wembley on 13 October where he grabbed the all-important goal to add to his stunning tally so far this season.

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

His last game for the West Midlands outfit, the 3-1 win against Fulham at Villa Park before the international break saw him grab his fifth goal in his last seven in all competitions, where he also won 75% of his aerial duels showing his class in the air and also when creating chances for others, registering one key pass [SofaScore].

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).

With England needing to win Monday’s game against North Macedonia to ensure they are seeded for the Euro 2024 draw taking place in December, many will have expected Kane to keep his place.

However, Watkins who has himself enjoyed a tremendous campaign so far now has the chance to write his name in the headlines for the country as grabs another opportunity to impress Southgate ahead of next summer’s tournament in Germany.

Watkins has been unstoppable at club level, but must now grab this opportunity from the start for England against North Macedonia with both hands. Southgate has certainly struck gold with this decision, especially concerning Watkins.

He is arguably the best Kane alternative out there right now and this is another chance to show it.

In other Aston Villa news, Emery must stick with one Villa Park midfield maestro v Spurs on 26 November after his recent international masterclass.