OLLIE WATKINS received a royal seal of approval from Aston Villa’s most famous supporter.
The Prince of Wales singled out the striker for special praise during a surprise visit to Villa’s training ground last month.
The future King told 27-year-old Watkins he was “on fire” having smashed six goals from his previous seven games.
Watkins, who is set to sign a new deal after bagging eight in ten Premier League matches, said: “It was the day before we beat Bournemouth 3-0 at home.
“We were having a debrief when the door opened and he just popped his head in to say hello! He hung around the training ground for a while, watching us train for a bit.
“Then he came over to me on his way out and said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, whatever it is you are eating, just keep doing it! It’s lovely to see you — you’re on fire!’ ”
Watkins has been in sensational form since Unai Emery replaced sacked Steven Gerrard in October.
The £28million buy from Brentford is aiming to score for the third Prem match on the spin at home to Steve Cooper’s struggling Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
And having supercharged seventh-placed Villa’s European run, the seven-cap ace hopes his form will be rewarded with an England recall.
Gareth Southgate has snubbed Watkins from his last four England squads despite him scoring in his most recent Three Lions appearance — a 3-0 Wembley win against Ivory Coast in March 2022.
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And though Prince William did not roll out the carpet and tell Watkins to visit, the goal machine would happily settle for an invitation to St George’s Park instead.
The Devon-born star told SunSport: “I was expecting an invite to the Palace but I didn’t quite get one.
“The Prince’s visit came just before the last England squad was announced and I never made it on that occasion — but I’ll keep trying.”
- OLLIE WATKINS was speaking at the Birmingham Happy Readers and Fun Football event, celebrating McDonald’s pledge to distribute over 10million books and over 2m hours of free Fun Football coaching to families in the UK this year. Find out more at mcdonalds.co.uk/family