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Dean Smith lauds £8m Villa ace who's 'one hell of a player' when he's confident

Sam Preston March 2, 2021
Dean Smith lauds £8m Villa ace who's 'one hell of a player' when he's confident
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Dean Smith has praised Aston Villa duo Ezri Konsa and Anwar El Ghazi.

Smith has conducted his press conference ahead of the trip to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United tomorrow night.

El Ghazi netted the winner to earn Villa a rare win without Jack Grealish in the side against Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday.

Konsa’s contribution at the heart of the defence was highlighted by Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football last night and Smith joined in the praise.

Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“He had a fruitful December,” said Smith of El Ghazi. “He’s just come into the team and he needs confidence. When he’s confident, he looks like one hell of a player.

“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 against Leeds and continue that now.”

On Konsa, he added: ““I knew that he had so much potential, he’s starting to fulfil that but I don’t think he has reached anywhere near the ceiling that he can get to. He’s an excellent defender and he’s learning every day.”

Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

£8 million (Guardian) man El Ghazi will likely get another chance to impress tomorrow with Jack Grealish out injured.

As Smith says, it’s important for the wideman to build on this. If he does, he can make a big contribution to the push for Europe.

Konsa has been doing it all season and looks as promising as any young English defender in the league right now.

Gareth Southgate doesn’t have a huge amount of elite talent available to him in that position right now so international recognition should come his way before too long.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.