Ollie Watkins, the Aston Villa striker in scintillating form this season, has disclosed his top 5 Premier League strikers of all time. Surprisingly, Wayne Rooney's name was missing from the list. With 6 Premier League goals and 5 assists, Watkins has emerged as a key player for Unai Emery's side, closing in on table-toppers Manchester City.
Gareth Southgate's consecutive England call-ups have showcased his intentions to use Watkins as a backup to Three Lions captain Harry Kane for next year's European Championship. The 27-year-old's extraordinary goal-scoring prowess for Villa has elevated his status as one of the most formidable strikers in the English top-flight.
In a recent interview with BT Sport, Watkins revealed the former professionals who inspired him. He ranked Jermain Defoe, the former Spurs forward, as his fifth choice. Defoe's remarkable career included 302 goals for Tottenham, West Ham, and Sunderland. He retired last year after a stint at Rangers.
Moving up the ladder, Watkins selected Robin van Persie, the legendary Arsenal and Manchester United goalscorer, as the fourth-best Premier League striker. Van Persie's heroics at both clubs guided Man United to their 13th Premier League crown and Sir Alex Ferguson's final title.
Surprisingly, Ruud van Nistelrooy, another Manchester United striker, claimed third spot in Watkins' top 5 list. Van Nistelrooy's prolific spell at Old Trafford saw him score an impressive 95 Premier League goals in just 150 appearances before being sold to Real Madrid.
The runner-up for Watkins was Alan Shearer, the all-time leading Premier League goalscorer with 260 goals. Despite holding the record, Shearer still fell short of Watkins' top choice.
Taking the coveted top spot was Thierry Henry, the Arsenal legend. Watkins admitted idolizing the Frenchman who scored 175 goals during his time with the Gunners, clinching two Premier League titles before his transfer to Barcelona.
As Watkins continues to shine on the pitch, his selections shed light on some of the greatest Premier League strikers of all time, excluding the likes of Wayne Rooney.