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Jamie Carragher has praised Ollie Watkins amid Arsenal links

Jamie Carragher has praised Ollie Watkins, telling Sky Sports (broadcast on 10/5; from 19:30) that the reported Arsenal target bullied the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip in Aston Villa’s defeat on Wednesday.

Villa missed the opportunity to move into the top-half of the Premier League table on Tuesday. They were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool in a game that keeps the Reds’ title hopes alive.

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Steven Gerrard’s men had their opportunities and caused plenty of problems for the Champions League finalists. They took the lead early on at Villa Park. And Watkins was amongst those to help give Liverpool a tough evening.

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The striker was sensational in the same fixture last season. And van Dijk and Matip looked uncomfortable up against him this time around, too.

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There may have been a couple of very interested Premier League sides monitoring his performance. Reports claimed that West Ham boss David Moyes is an admirer of Watkins. Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror notes that Arsenal have been linked with the £28 million 26-year-old.

So it will be interesting to see if they agree with Carragher’s view of his display while he was on commentary.

“He’s been a real handful tonight,” he told Sky Sports. “Every time that ball goes up. No defender has had a free header. Great body strength. He’s been bullying those centre-backs about, especially Matip, who has found it – not difficult – but it’s been a real fight every time it’s gone up to the front man.

“It’s certainly not been easy for the centre-backs.”

Jamie Carragher has praised Ollie Watkins

Watkins has not always shone for Villa. But he has a very decent record, with 10 Premier League goals coming this season. He is someone who has dealt superbly with every step-up in his career.

That should give Arsenal or West Ham hope if they make a move this summer. He will certainly back himself to deal with the demands of European football if given the chance.

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