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Aston Villa Dean Smith tells record signing Ollie Watkins not to sweat over £28million price tag

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

Dean Smith wants Ollie Watkins to forget about his £28million price tag after backing the striker to star for Villa.

Ollie Watkins in action at Burton.

Watkins, who last week became the club’s new record signing when he joined from Brentford, opened his account in Tuesday’s 3-1 Carabao Cup win at Burton.

Villa could end up paying £33m with add-ons for his services, but Smith does not believe the 24-year-old should be fazed by the fee.

He said: “I told (Ollie) not to even worry about the price tag. You are only worth what anybody is going to pay for you.

“He is a really sound lad. He is a great character, personality and someone I have worked with before.

“He scored against Manchester United in a friendly on Saturday and was disappointed it didn’t add to his goal tally.

“He will be pleased on Tuesday he got one that goes in the record books.

“I have no doubts he will score goals for us this season and be a very much loved Aston Villa centre-forward.”

Smith was Brentford boss when they signed Watkins from Exeter in 2017 and the forward, who bagged 26 goals in the Championship last season, was quickly identified as his No.1 target this window.

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Villa eventually got their man after protracted negotiations with the Bees. Smith believes he has signed a player who will only continue to improve.

“He is a more mature, confident player now,” he said. “He scored 26 goals last season and he believed he should have scored 36 as well which just shows he is not one who is going to rest on his laurels.

“He wants to get better, wants to improve. He knows how I like to play , he played centre-forward for me at Brentford.

“Thomas (Frank) moved him there last season when he had a couple of injuries and it was fruitful for him.

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“That will continue to be the case because he has a great attitude and application. He will get better and better.”

Watkins’ goal at Burton cancelled out Colin Daniel’s early opener for the hosts. Villa eventually won through courtesy of late goals from Jack Grealish and Keinan Davis.

It was the first time the latter had netted since a 6-1 win over Crewe at the same stage of last season’s competition.

“It’s been a while since I have been on the scoresheet so it was nice to get a goal in the first game of the season,” said Davis.

“I’m feeling really good. I had a good pre-season and I feel fit. I am looking forward to the season.

“Hopefully I will be more involved than last year. I had good experience towards the end of the season and I am looking forward to it.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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