Michael Owen hailed Newcastle United attacker Ayoze Perez after his hat-trick inspired a 3-1 home victory over Southampton in the Premier League.
The Magpies passed the 40-point barrier with a second consecutive victory in the league and top-flight safety looks dealt with.
Rafael Benitez’s team enjoyed a great result at St James’ Park and Perez opened the scoring after just 27 minutes with a great finish that bounced in off the post.
The 25-year-old then scored just four minutes later, as he arrived at the back post to tap in from a Salomon Rondon post.
Mario Lemina pulled a goal back for Southampton in the second-half, but Perez made sure of the points with an instinctive header late on to net his first hat-trick in English football.
Pundit Owen praised the Newcastle hero for his latest display, but feels he needs to score more regularly to take his game to another level.
He now has 11 goals across all competitions this season with 10 coming in the Premier League, which is his best return for Newcastle in the top flight.
“I’ve always liked the way he moves, his touch. Playing in the position he plays you have to contribute with more goals you have to do it,” Owen said on BT Sport 1 (7:25pm, 20 April).
“Recent games he’s certainly provided goals and this is obviously the icing on the cake a hat-trick in an important game.”
“I think until he gets goals he will always probably go under the radar. You see his desire to get into the box and get these goals, it’s what you need.”
Perez does have his critics at times for his lack of goals, but has come into some brilliant form at the back end of the campaign and can be red-hot when he gets on a streak.
He plays in the number 10 role just behind the striker and has forged a great understanding with teammate Rondon.
If he can reach the 15-goal barrier during a season, it would make him a serious talent and one that the Premier League would have to take more not of.
But he still provides a tremendous work-rate that makes him a mainstay in Benitez’s team and he’s getting the reward right now that he deserves.