Keinan Davis has vowed to repay the belief shown in him by Dean Smith after the Aston Villa manager compared the striker with the late Cyrille Regis.
Given a rare start, Davis scored his first goal for almost 20 months, and only his fourth in 46 appearances, in Villa’s 6-1 Carabao Cup second-round rout of League Two Crewe at Gresty Road on Tuesday night.
The performance of the 21-year-old delighted Smith, who said: “Keinan is a handful. I don’t think there are too many centre-halves in any league who would want to play against him.
“He is physical, strong, and I was really pleased he got his goal. At times, that’s the only thing that’s missing from his appearances.”
Comparing Davis to former England and West Brom striker Regis, Smith added: “He is a throw-back centre-forward, a bit like a Cyrille Regis, from those days – God bless Cyril.
“But Keinan’s performance was excellent. He made the ball stick in and around him, brought others into play really well, and then got on the end of a few crosses as well.”
With Smith only signing one striker over the summer in £22million Wesley from Club Brugge, he has promised Davis game time this season which is why he opted not to go out on loan.
Davis said: “In the transfer window he (Smith) told me he wanted me to stay, which gave me massive confidence, and now I’m trying to repay him with my performances.
“At the start (of pre-season) I thought about going out on loan, that maybe I wouldn’t play as much because I wanted to get as many games as I could.
“But he kept on reassuring me, telling me ‘Stay and you’ll play’. I had to trust him. He reassured me so it was all good in the end. “He’s given me an opportunity, now I have to prove myself to him.”
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