Kevin Phillips believes that Aston Villa striker Wesley will struggle to get back in Dean Smith’s starting XI given the form of Ollie Watkins.

The Brazilian striker joined Villa last summer from Belgian outfit Club Brugge in a £22m deal and he bagged himself five goals in 21 appearances last term.

Despite his gradual adaptation to life in England and in the Premier League, the 23-year-old suffered a cruciate ligament injury against Burnley, ending his first season at Villa Park.

Ten months on from that injury, the striker is now edging closer to a return to full fitness, with Villa posting a number of images and videos of his efforts in the club gym.

Posting a video via the club’s official Twitter account as the international break began last week, former Aston Villa striker Phillips has given his thoughts on the striker’s chances of getting a starting place in Smith’s XI.

Speaking to Football Insider, the 47-year-old said: “It is going to be almost impossible for Wesley to get into that team unless Watkins picks up an injury.

“Watkins has started the season on fire and I always thought that he would score goals.

“The only question was whether they could create enough opportunities and with Grealish staying, McGinn returning to full fitness and Barkley arriving they have a lot of players who can create.

“The good thing about Watkins is his positioning. He just plays within the width of the six-yard box. He rarely comes out wide and gets involved in the play, he leaves that up to the others and that is what a natural goalscorer does.

“He just wants to get in the box and score goals. I have been very impressed with him.

“Dean Smith will be delighted to have Wesley back but he will be over the moon with Watkins.”

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Phillips’ comments are not really a surprise, especially given Watkins’ form since arriving from Brentford this summer.

Nonetheless, despite Wesley’s likely struggles to displace the 24-year-old, Villa manger Smith will surely be delighted to have both strikers available to him soon.