“He has the mentality to be a top striker.”
Robbie Fowler has suggested that Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins could serve as an ideal replacement for Roberto Firmino at Liverpool.
Fowler believes that Watkins’ willingness to “press with energy” coupled with his productivity in front of goal would help him flourish under a manager like Jurgen Klopp.
Watkins emerged through Exeter City’s youth academy before making his senior debut for the club in 2014.
The Englishman subsequently enjoyed spells at Weston-super-Mare and Brentford before arriving at his current club Villa in September 2020.
Watkins has proved to be instrumental for Dean Smith’s side this season, scoring 15 goals and providing four assists in 36 games across all competitions.
The 25-year-old striker was also handed his England debut in March, and he subsequently scored his first national team goal during a 5-0 victory over San Marino.
Fowler on Watkins.
Fowler, writing in his column for the Mirror, believes that Watkins’ skill set would make him an ideal fit for a club like Liverpool.
“He (Watkins) was playing on loan at Weston-Super-Mare only five years ago,” Fowler wrote.
“But he stepped up at Exeter, stepped up at Brentford. Now he’s been asked to make the biggest step of all – into the Premier League – and done it too. To me, that shows he has the mentality to be a top striker.
“I look at him, and I see a striker who is prepared to learn, prepared to work. In fact, I spotted last year his work rate is incredible, and Dean Smith says he’s the best pressing centre forward in the league.
“Because what do the top teams want? A forward who performs a crucial pressing role. Manchester City, Liverpool, United, Chelsea. They all want a striker who performs the press with energy and intelligence, and does more than one job.
“Interestingly, Jurgen Klopp absolutely sang his praises a few weeks ago, and you can definitely see someone with his pressing ability – and the stats to go with it – doing well under that sort of manager.”