Express & Star

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins deserves England call-up says Unai Emery

Unai Emery reckons Ollie Watkins is deserving of an England call-up after the striker bagged a hat-trick in Saturday’s 6-1 thumping of Brighton.

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins fires home

Watkins’ superb individual performance led the way as Villa ran riot against the Seagulls to record their biggest Premier League win for nearly three years, moving up to third in the early season table.

England boss Gareth Southgate was in the stands and Emery believes Watkins, who earned the most recent of his seven caps in March last year, is worthy of a recall.

Southgate will name his next squad on Thursday and Emerys said: “I think he is going to deserve to go there and playing matches like today. I think he is closer to go there.”

Villa are also in talks over a new contract with Watkins, who became their first player since Andy Gray in 1976/77 to score two hat-tricks in a season, having previously netted a treble against Hibernian.