Ron Atkinson believes goalscoring hero Christian Benteke has been "the find of the season".
Benteke sent two club records tumbling with his stunning hat-trick in Monday night's 6-1 demolition of Sunderland.
Not only did he become the first Villa striker since Juan Pablo Angel to score 20 goals in a season, he also eclipsed Dwight Yorke's record for goals in a single Premier League campaign.
And former boss Atkinson reckons the Belgian is good enough to join Villa's long list of legendary forwards.
Big Ron is a shrewd judge of goalscoring talent, having brought prolific duo Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson to Villa Park during his exciting stint in charge in the early 1990s.
He always felt Benteke could be the difference-maker in the battle for top-flight survival.
"He's the find of the season and has everything that makes a great centre-forward," said Atkinson.
"Villa have a long line of centre-forward heroes and there is no doubt Benteke is good enough to be rated alongside them.
"My old man reckoned 'Pongo' Waring was the best of the lost and there have been a few since, like Gerry Hitchens, Andy Gray and Peter Withe.
"I have always been confident Villa would stay up and Benteke's been a key reason."
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