Smith happy not to rush Wesley

Aston Villa
Dean Smith says it is too early to place Aston Villa's survival hopes on Wesley's shoulders, despite him being a "real player".

Dean Smith says it is too early to place Aston Villa’s survival hopes on Wesley’s shoulders, despite him being a “real player”.

The Brazilian was amongst the 12 new faces to arrive at Villa Park in the summer, signing from Club Brugge for £22m after three successful seasons in Belgium.

Wesley was thrown straight into the side for the 3-1 defeat at Tottenham and continued in the 2-1 reverse at home to Bournemouth. However, he was criticised for his wastefulness in front of goal.

Those setbacks did not hinder the 22-year-old too significantly though and he got off the mark for the Villans in Friday’s 2-0 home win against Everton.

The manner of the goal will have greatly encouraged Smith, the forward darting across the Toffees’ back four before clipping past Jordan Pickford.

Wesley also earned plaudits for his hold-up play, while he was a constant threat in the air.

Inevitably, the media have started to build him up but Smith is keen to ensure the limelight does not hinder the player’s performances.

As far as he is concerned, the Juiz de Fora-born star is at an age where he should be allowed to develop at his own rate.

“It’s too early to judge [Wesley],” he told reporters. “Just because he’s scored one goal, it’s too early to say he’s going to go and get 25 goals.

“We see a real player who is going to develop. He had a really good game against Everton who are a strong defensive unit.

“There’ll be games he won’t play as well but he’s only a young player and that is part of his development.”

Wesley was given the evening off for Tuesday’s 6-1 EFL Cup win over Crewe but will hope to regain his place on Saturday away at Crystal Palace.

Another man hoping to prolong his spell in the side is Spanish winger Jota, a summer signing from local rivals Birmingham City.

Jota previously worked under Smith at Brentford and the boss knows where his best qualities lie.

The likes of Anwar El-Ghazi and Trezeguet are also vying for the wide berths but the 28-year-old is clearly a favourite of the manager.

Smith added: “He’s really talented and can score or create. He set-up a goal on Tuesday at Crewe and he can see a pass.

“It’s good for me that I’ve got competition for places in those areas now with Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi as well.”