Struggling Aston Villa player back in form, wins Alan Shearer's approval

Nicolo Zaniolo
Nicolo Zaniolo / ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

Nicolo Zaniolo made a splash in the Premier League with his crucial goal against West Ham United. With pundits and fans buzzing, the Italian's performance earned him a place in football legend Alan Shearer's Team of the Week – a huge seal of approval for the once-struggling player.

Despite being a substitute and having only 20 touches, Zaniolo's goal breathed life back into Aston Villa's game. Finding the back of the net in the 79th minute, his strike pulled the match back to a 1-1 draw, a single point with major implications for Villa's chase for a top-four finish. It showed Zaniolo has that 'right place, right time' instinct goal-scorers need.

Shearer, the Premier League's all-time top scorer, rarely hands out praise lightly. His recognition of Zaniolo speaks volumes – the young attacking midfielder made the difference when Villa needed it. It's a much-needed boost, considering the rollercoaster season Zaniolo has faced. Shearer told the Premier League's official website:

"Excellent impact when he was brought on by Unai Emery, scoring an equaliser that could prove vital for Villa in the top-four race."

This season hasn't been smooth for the Galatasaray loanee. In 32 matches, he has found the net only 3 times, drawing criticism for inconsistent form. But, that goal against West Ham? It could be just the breakthrough he needed – a sign of the consistent star he might become.

Aston Villa has their eyes on Europe, and Zaniolo might be their ticket. His ability to change the game in a flash adds something dangerous to Villa's attack, something opponents will dread.

Zaniolo is no overnight sensation. Debuting for Italy in 2019, his rise through Italian football was meteoric. His time at AS Roma further fuelled the hype. Now, in the relentless spotlight of the Premier League, with Shearer's vote of confidence, he is proving his worth again.

Nicolo Zaniolo's goal against West Ham did more than secure a point; it sparked a new wave of belief surrounding the young Italian. As the season heats up, under the watchful eye of a legend like Shearer, Zaniolo is a name that just might find its way into football history.