Rudy Gestede not just an aerial threat, insists Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood

Aston Villa

Three of the towering striker's four Villa goals have come from thumping headers.

Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede is not just a one-trick pony, manager Tim Sherwood has insisted at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s visit of Stoke City.

Gestede, 26, has netted four times in eight total appearances for Villa since a £6 million summer move from Blackburn Rovers, including a second-half brace in last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool.

Renowned for his aerial presence, three of those strikes came from powerful headers, while 19 of the 35 goals he recorded during his 18-month spell at Ewood Park were also scored in the same fashion.

Sherwood himself labelled the 6ft 4 in target man English football’s best forward in the air at the time of his signing but he has now stressed that there is much more to his game than just thumping in crosses and set-pieces.

“He can do more than that – his two goals [against Liverpool] were from open play,” said the Villa boss. “The second one was obviously a towering header but the first one he gets himself in the six-yard box to tap it in.

“I like to see strikers doing that. It shows that eagerness to get between the widths of the posts and put the ball in the net, so hopefully he can deliver a few more for us.”

 League
TeamSeasonGoalsGoals MINSTotal Shots MINSShooting AccuracyScoring V Shooting AccuracyBig Chances MissedHeaders Won MINSHeader SuccessAppearancesMins Played
Rudy Gestede Aston Villa 2015-2016 3 130.67 21.78 28% 17% 1 8.52 56% 7 392
Rudy Gestede Blackburn 2014-2015 20 135.25 22.54 36% 17% 14 7.53 59% 39 2,705
Christian Benteke Aston Villa 2014-2015 13 183.08 29.75 36% 16% 7 12.66 55% 29 2,380

With the similarly physical Christian Benteke departing for Liverpool in the summer, Sherwood is now relying on Gestede to take up the goalscoring burden as the new focal point of his side’s attack.

Nevertheless, despite his impressive Championship strike-record, the French-born Benin international’s previous failure to make the grade at the Premier League level during his time at Cardiff City has some sceptical about whether he will be able to offer Villa the desired impact in the long run.

Sherwood has no concerns about the ex-Bluebird’s top-flight talent, though, and is backing him to prove the doubters wrong, adding: "It is a big step up but I believe he can do it. He has the belief of his manager.

“I think he's got the belief of the supporters too and he's showing that. He's scored three goals in the Premier League which is a very good return. Hopefully he'll get some more.”

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