Danny’s a Lion heart
DEAN SMITH says Danny Ings is no poor relation among England’s finest strikers.
Smith’s high-riding Aston Villa side will try to do a job on Ings when Southampton visit Villa Park today.
The 28-year-old is in eye-catching form with four goals for the Saints plus another for England in the 3-0 win over Wales.
There are those reluctant to mention the former Liverpool and Burnley striker in the same bracket as the likes of England regulars Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.
But Smith is no soccer snob and reckons there’s an awful lot to like about a man who has overcome serious injury and still keeps getting himself back among the goals.
Villa won’t need warning about the potent threat the Southampton man poses as they try to recover from the shattering 3-0 home defeat to Leeds last weekend.
Victory would have put Villa top of the table – but instead they came off licking their wounds as Patrick Bamford floored them with a treble.
They’ll be out to ensure Ings isn’t afforded such a luxury, with Smith saying: “I’m not sure which club you play for comes into it when you talk about top players.
“The quality of Danny Ings’s goals are no less than those scored by Kane or the top strikers. He’s shown what he can do.
“Any player who signs for Liverpool is a top player.
“He had a big injury but went to Southampton and established himself as an integral part of what they are doing.
“I don’t know him but he looks like he has a terrific personality and add to that the fact that he works hard.”
Smith added: “Southampton are a
SMALL-CLUB GOLD Danny Ings is the equal of any Big Six star says Aston Villa boss Dean Smith very good side. They had a great win against Everton. Ings and Che Evans are goalscorers but they also work hard for their side.”
The Villa boss believes Saints are now being rewarded for refusing to press the panic button when they were thumped 9- 0 at home by Leicester this time last year.
Smith adds: “It’s the same group of players. There hasn’t been many changes. Ralph Hasenhuttl is a good coach who was esteemed before he came to the club.
“And you do not become a bad coach after one result. He’s shown that and I’m glad that he did.” Smith knows what it’s like when things aren’t going well – and the pressure that brings for quick change.
He added: “Smart businessmen don’t make decisions when they are emotional. They make rational calls when they have taken on all the facts – and it’s paid off for Southampton.”