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Dean Smith hails "outstanding" Ollie Watkins after Everton win

Dean Smith hails
© Reuters
Ollie Watkins set Aston Villa on their way to a first win at Goodison Park since 2008.

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith is delighted with the progress striker Ollie Watkins has made this season and felt his performance in the 2-1 victory at Everton was one of his best.

The newly-capped England international's 15th club goal of the season was cancelled out by Dominic Calvert-Lewin's 20th of the campaign in the first half.

But Anwar El Ghazi scored for the second successive match with a brilliant curling effort 10 minutes from time as Villa won at Goodison Park for the first time since 2008.

"I thought he was good tonight and difficult to handle. It's what we paid a lot of money for," Smith said of the decision to sign Watkins from Brentford in the summer for £28million.

"I knew what he was and what he was like as a person and how he wanted to grow and get better. I thought he was outstanding tonight.

"He pick-pocketed the defender (Mason Holgate) well to score his goal and I thought Jordan Pickford regained parity with some of the saves against him.

"I think his game has got better. I've always said he is one of the best pressing centre-forwards in the Premier League, which is huge praise indeed. He is backing that up with goals.

"He is a lad who used to beat himself up a lot if he missed chances but he gets over that a lot quicker now and that's a sign of a really hungry and top young player."

Defeat extended eight-placed Everton's woeful home league run to one win in the last 10 and put a huge dent in their hopes of putting themselves within striking distance of fourth-placed Chelsea with a match in hand.

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