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Dean Smith launches robust defence of Wesley claiming it is too soon to judge Aston Villa's record buy

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Dean Smith has warned the critics to back off Wesley insisting it is far too early to pass judgement on Villa’s £22million record buy.

Wesley is yet to open his account for Villa.

The Brazilian striker, who joined from Club Brugge during the summer, is yet to open his account in the Premier League.

But Smith has been pleased with his overall performances and is clearly surprised about the scrutiny already on the new boy’s shoulders after just two matches.

It has prompted the Villa boss to launch a robust defence of his man. Smith said: “He’s two games into the season and only one goal behind Mo Salah at the moment. I’m certainly not judging centre-forwards this early in the campaign.

“Wesley showed me enough in pre-season to suggest he’s going to be a top player. What are we coming to when we’re making judgements on players after two matches?”

Former Wolves skipper Paul Ince is among the pundits to have questioned Wesley’s displays in defeats to Tottenham and Bournemouth.

But Smith said: “There have been questions about him playing in the Premier League but he played in the Champions League last season (for Brugge). He’s not too shabby.

"He’s settled straight away, I can see that every day in training. He’s shown potential in his performances so far and that potential will come through.

“He’s well liked by his peers in the dressing room, which is one of the most important things.”

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The boss believes Wesley’s intelligence will help him quickly adapt to the pace of the English game as he added: “I think we are getting the best out of him. He’ll get better and better as the season goes by.

"He hasn’t had an awful lot of chances so far. But I’ll probably name you 14 clubs whose centre-forwards who won’t get a chance at Tottenham in the first game of the season.

“He showed enough and he never hides away from the ball, he goes and competes. He’s already created enough chances for other people to be scoring.”

Villa host Everton tonight aiming to crack a Toffees’ defence which is yet to be breached this season and kept 10 clean sheets in the last 12 Premier League matches, dating back to last season.

“There have not been too many chinks in their armour, with the clean sheets they have been getting,” said Smith.

“But there have been some elements where we believe we can create opportunities. That will be down to us executing things right.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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