Anwar El Ghazi returned to scoring form in Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Leeds United and Dean Smith revealed that the 25-year-old “needs confidence” to be at his best.
The Claret and Blues face Sheffield United on Wednesday evening and Smith believes El Ghazi could become “one hell of a player” for Villa if he can build on his Leeds performance.
He said in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference: “He had a fruitful December. He’s just come into the team and he needs confidence. When he’s confident, he looks like one hell of a player.
“He came on as a sub against Wolves and took the last-minute penalty, scored and went on a goalscoring spree after that. Hopefully he can take confidence from his performance, first and foremost, against Leeds, scoring a winning goal and continue that into March now.”
El Ghazi has enjoyed a run in the side while Jack Grealish is out with a leg injury, scoring one goal in his last two games and looking a real threat every time he’s on the ball. But he can’t rest on his laurels.
El Ghazi isn’t afraid to take a shot or run at his opposition, but his finishing was been wayward for the longest time and he wasn’t beating players in one-on-ones. That led to Smith preferring Grealish on the left and Ross Barkley in the central attacking-midfield role.
Now El Ghazi’s got a chance to nail down a starting place for the foreseeable future if he can pick up against Sheffield United where he left off at Leeds.
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Smith is right about El Ghazi. He has all the attributes to be a fantastic forward, but his form hasn’t been consistent enough. If the 25-year-old can maintain his high levels, he’ll keep his place in the side when Grealish returns.