‘One of them is carrying a big price tag’ – Villa boss has striker options to consider ahead of Norwich clash
PUBLISHED: 11:18 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 02 October 2019
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has admitted that record signing Wesley is feeling the pressure of his £22million price tag, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Norwich City.
The Brazilian striker was signed from Club Brugge this summer, after scoring 38 goals in 130 games, helping to win the Belgian title in 2016 and 2018.
The 22-year-old has scored twice after starting all seven of Villa's Premier League games so far this season, during a 2-0 home win over Everton and a dramatic 3-2 loss at Arsenal, but his performances have left fans under-whelmed.
With Jonathan Kodjia back in training with a face mask - after fracturing a cheekbone in a training collision after the first game of the season - and youngster Keinan Davis also pushing for selection, Smith admits he has attacking decisions to ponder ahead of Saturday's Carrow Road clash.
Asked if Kodjia will return to the squad, Smith said: "He will and young Keinan Davis is getting better and better as well. I've spoken to Wes, I didn't think it was Wes's best game on Saturday and Wes would be the first to admit that. And he certainly did to myself.
"He knows Keinan is pushing him, they are both young lads, there's only months between their ages, unfortunately, one of them is carrying a big price tag on their head as well.
"We have to take them as two professional footballers, human beings that can be affected by not playing well. I think he's the sort of character, that from what I've seen in training this week he will go on to want to prove people wrong."
Former Bristol City forward Kodjia is part of a triple injury boost for Smith ahead of the trip to Norfolk, following a 2-2 home draw with Burnley on Saturday.
Former Ipswich defender Tyrone Mings, whose loan from Birmingham was made permanent for around £20m this summer, and left-back Matt Targett, who was signed from Southampton for an initial £11.5m, are both set to feature.
"Tyrone Mings had a whack on the shin," Smith continued, speaking to Birmingham Live. "But he's fine. He's trained since.
"Matt Targett hasn't trained yet since the weekend. But nothing showed up on the scan in terms of a hamstring issue, which is really pleasing. However, he certainly felt something so we've got be very cautious with him.
"But he will start training on Wednesday ready for the Norwich game.
"Jonathan Kodjia is training fully now with the mask on so we have people coming back from injury, which is good to see."
Centre-back James Chester is yet to make a first team appearance this season and Smith says the 30-year-old is not yet ready to return.
"He needs more minutes," he added. "We will get some more game-time into him."