Ollie Watkins: ‘I want to be seen as one of the killers in front of goal’

Aston Villa striker on England ambitions, working with Coutinho and Gerrard and facing Manchester City with the title on the lineAs another scintillating Premier League season draws to a climax Ollie Watkins, ever the perfectionist, already has one eye on the next, the striker determined to scale new heights to help elevate Aston Villa into jostling for a European berth. “I know I can get up to around 20 goals in this league and hopefully I can do that next year,” Watkins says. “Scoring that amount puts you into a different category. You start to be seen as one of the ‘killers’ in front of goal. People always talk about Harry Kane – he’s a very good finisher and that’s why his goal record is so good. There are a lot of players over the years that have been like that and that’s what I want to be known for.”This week the Villa manager, Steven Gerrard, said the selfless Watkins was his own worst critic – “sometimes he can overanalyse” – but the 26-year-old is learning to be kinder to himself. He previously enlisted the help of a psychologist and listening to podcasts such as The High Performance podcast has helped shape his mentality. “I’ve tried to ease off putting the pressure on myself and I just try to go out and enjoy it and get into that mindset of not being too high or too low,” Watkins says. “I feel like physically I’ve definitely developed a lot in the gym but mentally is the big part that has changed in my game. It is just about trying to keep a level head.”

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