Aston Villa told to join Ivan Toney fight as he’s a ‘great’ option in order to ‘give Watkins a rest’

Ciaran McCarthy
Ollie Watkins, Ivan Toney, Aston Villa
Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney alongside the Aston Villa badge

Micah Richards has told Aston Villa they should “get an experienced striker” so that they can “give Watkins a rest” and Ivan Toney “could be a great one.”

Villa are absolutely flying under Unai Emery. They finished seventh in the Premier League last season, securing European football, and are currently third and just two points off top spot.

A number of stars have increased their level since working under Emery. Ollie Watkins is on course for his best scoring season at Villa, having already notched 10 goals in all competitions alongside eight assists.

Richards feels the Villans need cover for the striker if he’s to get injured or just to give him a rest at times.

“We talked about it before, you mentioned Watkins, if Watkins were to get injured, I know they’ve got [Jhon] Duran as well but I would go out and potentially get an experienced striker that can see them through when they need to give Watkins a rest,” Richards said on The Rest Is Football.

He identified in-demand Englishman Toney as a potentially perfect option for Villa.

Ivan Toney could be a great one, yes but I think he would want to start every game.”

If Villa were able to get him – which is easier said than done given Chelsea and Arsenal interest along with an £80million price tag – his desire to start every game may not be a problem.

Emery has employed a two-striker formation at times this season, such as when Nicolo Zaniolo has started. As such, Watkins and Toney could potentially play together, in what would surely be a devastating striker pairing.

Otherwise, Richards feels a Danny Ings type player would be apt, though obviously not actually him, given Villa sold him in January.

“So, it’s very difficult if you want to still play the same system to have someone who can come into the team, can do a very good job, but is not expected to play every week and that’s why it’s a little bit difficult,” Richards added.

“You get them on loan, if they get Champions League, then they get a bumper contract at the end of it or a big bonus for getting them in the Champions League and then they can go back on loan from wherever they’ve come from.

“I would go with someone in the Danny Ings mould but not Danny Ings. Someone you know you can get like a younger Danny Ings, who would I go for? It’s not easy!”

That Villa sold Ings suggest they may not sign a player at the stage of his career he is at. As such, if Villa do go after a striker, they’ll probably be looking for a higher profile.

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