Dean Smith has suggested that Anwar El Ghazi can be one hell of a player when the Aston Villa winger is playing with confidence – in comments reported by the club’s official website.
It has been a strange season for the 25-year-old. He did not make his first Premier League appearance of the campaign until November. And he did not complete 90 minutes until December.
However, he made up for lost time when he got his chance. The Dutchman has now scored six goals in 15 top flight appearances, with the latest coming on Saturday as he scored the winner against Leeds at Elland Road.
It is a remarkable turnaround from El Ghazi. But Smith hinted that his performances have come as little surprise to him.
“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 told the club’s official website.
“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’s record is all the more impressive given that he has started just eight times this season. His tally leaves him level with Jack Grealish behind Ollie Watkins in the club’s scoring charts.
But given the attacking quality Villa possess, El Ghazi – who earns around £31,000-a-week, according to Spotrac – needs to keep going if he hopes to play more often moving forward.
Villa, of course, have Grealish to welcome back from injury at some stage. And El Ghazi will be desperate to ensure that he is not the player to make way for the captain.