Steve McClaren has lauded Ollie Watkins, Ross Barkley and Tyrone Mings as ‘inspirational’ players for Aston Villa and warned the Premier League as to how dangerous the team can be this season, as he told Sky Sports (21/10/20 at 10:55 am)
Both Watkins and Barkley were purchased this summer, whilst Mings joined Villa when they were in the Championship, where he helped them to promotion.
Whilst last season was a real struggle for those at Villa Park, it has been a real transformation this time around and Dean Smith’s men look a completely different animal.
Former Premier League coach, McClaren, shared his thoughts on Villa’s 100% to the season and what has changed about them this time around.
“The additions of Watkins and Barkley has been inspirational,” McClaren told Sky Sports. “I think the key was the Liverpool game.
“The fitness levels of the players. They are now playing at an intensity to get that ball back and win that ball a little higher than they did last season. They were winning the ball in the wrong box. Now they are winning the ball in the middle of the field. And they have got such speed on the transaction.
“The relationship between Grealish and Barkley has been incredible. They didn’t have that last season. They didn’t have any runners or any legs in midfield. They have that now. And they have Watkins as a target.
“Everything has been built on foundations. Mings was an inspired signing in the Championship. He helped them to the Premier League. Them two [Mings and Konsa] working as a partnership has been incredible. They are a good team now and a team you don’t want to play against because they can defend well. But on transition, the speed in which they have got and the quality of player.
Another tough test awaits for those in Claret and Blue when they have to come up against the 100 miles per hour Yorkshire machine in Leeds United.
It will be some contest from two of England’s sleeping giants, who have risen from the Championship ashes during the past two seasons.
Villa could go top with a win on Friday night but Leeds, who have provided a scare to almost every team they have faced so far this season, will be making sure they spoil the early party in the West Midlands.