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Unai Emery: England snub will be more motivation for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins

Unai Emery has backed Ollie Watkins to use his England snub as motivation to fire Villa further up the Premier League table.

Emery felt the striker was unfortunate to miss out on a Three Lions recall after scoring six goals in his last seven Premier League matches, but believes his chance will eventually come if he can maintain his excellent form.

The boss is confident being overlooked won’t affect the 27-year-old’s focus heading into Saturday’s home match with Bournemouth.

He explained: “I didn’t speak to Ollie after the squad announcement but I gave him my support in training, trying to work on his individual qualities and consistency.

“For me the England squad list doesn’t change my mind about what I think about him.

“Of course, I realise his target is to be in the England squad, playing for his national team. He has to continue working but he has a strong mentality.

“For him and for us it’s a challenge and a chance to show our professionalism and if he scores against Bournemouth, fantastic.”

Watkins, who scored just two goals in his first 14 appearances this season, has benefited hugely from Emery’s arrival but the Spaniard believes there are still areas he can improve his game.

“He is very demanding. Usually after a training session when we are finishing, he is demanding more,” said Emery.

“Sometimes we are making him do more, sometimes not because it is time for rest.

“Each match is giving us a lot of information about the team and how he can improve – how he can take more time with the ball to try to take the best decision passing and to get more assists and occupy the space better in the box than he is doing.

“He is doing very well but he is demanding and I am very demanding with him how he can improve.”

Emery, meanwhile, revealed he had been given the royal seal of approval by the Prince of Wales following the latter’s visit to Bodymoor Heath this week.

The Prince, a Villa supporter, has been a regular visitor to the training ground in recent years and Emery said: “He was very kind towards me.

“The most important thing is that although he is a Prince, he speaks as a normal person. The best thing for Villa is he shares his passion for football with us – he has a genuine passion for Aston Villa.”

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