Hutton urges Aston Villa summer rethink, gives update on striker

Date published: Thursday 11th February 2021 10:53 - Neil Foster

Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton is concerned by a lack of squad depth and feels Dean Smith needs to sign a new striker this summer.

Villa have enjoyed a solid Premier League campaign and sit comfortably in mid table. Any thoughts of relegation evaporated months ago, with a haul of 35 points 20 clear of the drop zone.

The Villans have secured notable victories over some of the top sides. A 7-2 thrashing of champions Liverpool is the undoubted highlight.

But they have also beaten Leicester City and Arsenal twice, while drawing with Chelsea. And it has all been achieved without the services of striker Wesley Moraes.

The man with one Brazil cap to his name is still on his way back from injury. He suffered a severe cruciate knee ligament injury after a tackle from Burnley’s Ben Mee on January 1 2020.

It was thought that the former Club Brugge forward would be out for around nine months. But he has yet to return, with Ollie Watkins the main source of goals.

Jack Grealish, Anwar El Ghazi and Ross Barkley have chipped in from midfield while Bertrand Traore has scored four goals.

And Hutton is concerned that an injury to Watkins could see the goals dry up.

He told Football Insider: “It’s probably the one situation where you think well if he (Watkins) was to be missing, who’s coming in? Who’s going to live up to his levels?”

“It’s a difficult one, I think that’s the progression, looking at Villa from afar.

“Yes, they’ve got a strong starting 11 and then 12th, 13th player, but if you really need to make changes and take it to the next level, it’s probably about bulking out that squad a little bit and adding that competition for places.”

Positive signs for Brazilian

Hutton has also provided an update on Moraes’s progression. He is said to be taking part in non-contact training outside but there is still no return date pencilled in.

“Well I know he’s out on the grass now so that’s kind of like the last bit,” added the 36-year-old. “Obviously you do all your gym work and then you start going out on the grass, doing little bits then you start upping it week by week so I think he’s doing well, how long it’s going to be, I’m not sure.

“I think it was quite a bad knee injury so you always have to be wary of that.”

 

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