Danny Ings made his first appearance for Aston Villa in our pre-season friendly against Salernitana on Sunday, and Dean Smith will have been pleased with what he saw from his summer signing.
Ings arrived in a somewhat surprise move last week given few expected the announcement from Villa when it arrived, with the 29-year-old said to have joined in a move worth around £25m, as per BBC Sport.
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Given his record across all competitions over the past two seasons which has seen him score 38 goals and provide seven assists in 75 appearances, it was an excellent addition for Villa to bring in a proven goalscorer at this level and someone who can make an immediate impact in the final third.
Naturally though, the expectation was that he might take some time to settle in his new side, but his performance on Sunday was certainly promising.
Goal and plenty of impressive build-up play for Ings and Villa
It remains to be seen how Smith deploys his XI against Watford this weekend in terms of system and personnel, while much depends on Ollie Watkins and his fitness after he hobbled off in this pre-season outing.
Ings appeared to interchange and drift with his fellow striker during the encounter, as they’ll have to drop off to the left side as well as attack the box together and know when either goes, the other stays and offers defensive protection too.
For now though, it was just about improving fitness and building an understanding amongst the players, and there was certainly plenty of that from Ings and his teammates.
After falling behind, Villa responded positively and it was Ings who drew us level with a tidy finish after some good build-up play. It would have been a huge confidence boost for him to get off the mark, albeit in a pre-season game and not competitive action.
Nevertheless, there were flashes of his ability to unlock defences with his movement and passing in the final third too, and he will undoubtedly be an important player for us this season and beyond.
It was unfortunate that both Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey were missing, but add their creativity and technical quality to the side too, and Ings will not only have service to thrive off, but he’ll have players making runs alongside him to show his ability on the ball too as Villa now have a dynamic and multi-pronged attack that will cause plenty of opponents problems this season.