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Aston Villa’s striker poser a nice problem for Steven Gerrard

Villa boss Steven Gerrard says the challenge of getting strikers Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings in the same team is a ‘positive problem’.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard

Watkins and Ings both started in Gerrard’s first game, the win over Brighton at Villa Park, but the goals came after summer signing Ings had gone off.

Ings was then an unused sub for Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

The pair are yet to have much joy in the same XI, but Gerrard feels the pair are both versatile enough to ‘adapt’ and sees them working well together in the coming weeks and months.

“I see it very much as a positive problem, if there’s such a thing,” said Gerrard.

“For me, it would be more of a challenge and more of a problem if Danny and Ollie could only play as number nines – if they were the same type and had the same style.

“They’re both talented enough and have great game awareness. They can adapt. They can both play as a number nine, a number 10. They can both rotate.

“With the way that we play, once we improve and we get better in possession of the ball, our forward players will be given the license to rotate and be free – to be the best version of themselves.”

Gerrard is also looking to get the best out of Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey, who both joined the club alongside Ings during the summer.

The Villa chief added: “What we don’t want to do is shoehorn individuals or partnerships into one position and say ‘stay there, that’s what we want’.

"We’re very much the opposite. We want to be a real tough team to play against, but when we’re in certain areas, we want to give these players the ability to be free and cause as many problems as they can.”

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