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“I swear on the children’s lives, I told Palmer.” England hero predicts semi-final outcome

Date: July 18, 2024 Time: 10:39:45

England are in the Euro final! Gareth Southgate’s team snatched victory from the Netherlands in the semi-finals (2-1). And the decisive goal in the 90+1 minute was scored by Ollie Watkins, who came on to the field only at the end. Before that, the striker only spent 21 minutes at the Euro. We tell you what kind of player led the English to the second Euro final in history.

Before 2020, you might have only heard of Watkins if you were interested in the English league. Ollie graduated from Exeter City (now playing in League 1) and in 2017 moved to Brentford. Watkins scored 10 goals in his first two seasons. These are not the best statistics in the league, which is played over 46 rounds. But the 2019/2020 season was a breakthrough: 25 goals and promotion; then came Aston Villa.

By that time, the Birmingham team had already returned to the Premier League and reinforced its squad with the best striker in the English second league. Villa paid Brentford 34 million euros for Ollie: solid!

Ollie Watkins at Brentford

Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Watkins immediately became Birmingham’s main striker. And he proves his worth every season, scoring at least 10 goals in the Premier League. At the same time, the transfer fee is also growing: after the transfer it was 30 million euros, now it is already 65 million euros. Many strikers with a similar career path have a good season and then “deflate”. Danny Ings, Rickie Lambert, Andrew Carroll – there are plenty of examples. But Watkins is not in that category. He is stable and improving. And in 2021, Ollie deservedly made his debut for the England national team.

We talk about the historic match for the British:

Video

England’s finale is too steep! Southgate’s changes took them into the Euro final in the 90+1 minute

The striker is also lucky that Unai Emery will be in charge of Aston Villa in 2022. Under the Spaniard’s leadership, Watkins is progressing even faster. Thanks to this, he had an incredible 2023/2024 season: 32 (19+13) effective actions and second place in the Premier League’s “goal+pass” system. He lost just one point to Cole Palmer (33, 22+11).

Interestingly, Watkins’ girlfriend tried to enlist the support of singer Taylor Swift’s fans to choose Ollie in the vote for the best player of the season. She reposted a post in which Watkins allegedly said: “I’m a huge Swift fan, I listen to her new album every morning.” This is followed by the statement: “What a player, huge Taylor Swift fan! He’s nominated for the Premier League Player of the Season award. Vote for him using the link below.” But this didn’t help – Palmer won. Although the attempt is creative, nothing can be said.

Ollie Watkins at Aston Villa

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Watkins’ main skill is finding space, making timely runs and scoring. However, in the 2023/2024 season Ollie became more versatile – 13 assists is a good indicator. Admittedly, there is some luck in this. According to FbRef statistics, he gave 5.7 more assists than he should have. With goals scored, the overperformance is not so pronounced – only +2.2.

Ollie’s performance was also influenced by working with a psychotherapist, which he spoke about on the eve of Euro 2024.

Olivia Watkins

England striker

“I talk to a psychotherapist and this communication has definitely helped me in my life. I think this is the best investment I have ever made. Investing in myself and my mindset has helped me become a better player. Mindset is the most important thing. Your brain can tell you a lot of things and you might doubt yourself. There may be times when I wake up feeling unsure of myself. But if you put your thoughts in order, you can trick your brain into believing different things.”

However, Southgate did not demand the striker’s brilliant play and mental stability at the Euros. Ollie was included in the final entry, but spent less than 30 minutes on the field before the semi-finals. Watkins came on as a substitute in the second round match against Denmark (1-1), without scoring any effective action.

England pundits demanded that Southgate rely on Ollie more often. “Watkins is hungry. Look: when Ollie came on the pitch at the start of the tournament, he was constantly moving forward. This is what we needed against Slovakia. But since Harry Kane scored, he stayed on the pitch, he is a goalscorer. Watkins would have scored that goal, Tawney would have scored that goal. Make the right changes. Anyone can be replaced,” swore former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor after the round of 16.

Ollie Watkins in the England squad

Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“I said a week ago that if I was working at Bayern and I saw Kane playing for England, I would break out in a cold sweat. It was clear that England looked much more dangerous after Ollie Watkins came on. He had a couple of chances in five minutes because he makes runs, unlike Kane. I’m sure Harry would also like to make those kinds of runs, but he can’t,” said former Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann after the match against Denmark.

In the match against the Netherlands, the English manager decided to release Watkins. Ollie did not disappoint: in the 90th minute he received a pass from Cole Palmer (who also came on as a substitute), turned and shot into the far corner under Stefan de Vrij. And he made the whole country happy! By the way, Watkins’ xG moment is estimated at just 0.06.

The full Euro 2024 match broadcast and highlights are available on Okko.

After the match, Ollie shared his emotions and told an incredible story.

Olivia Watkins

England striker

“I swear on my kids’ lives, I told Cole Palmer, ‘We’re going out there today and you’re going to score a goal for me.’ That’s why I’m so happy for Cowley. As soon as he got the ball, I knew he was going to play for me. Catch, shoot… When I saw the ball in the corner of the goal, it was the best feeling of my life.”

But Watkins is ambitious. He says he would like to play more often: “I never thought I would play for England at the Euros. You might like to dream, but I am a realist, I do my job day by day, step by step. Of course, I have been a bit upset lately. I don’t like sitting on the bench because I had the best season of my career. But a couple of friends wrote to me and asked me to be patient.”

England have a final against Spain ahead of them. At the last Euros, the Brits lost dramatically in the decider to Italy. Losing a second consecutive Euro final would be a tragedy. Perhaps Southgate should take a risk and leave Kane, who is not showing his best football, on the bench? And release Watkins, who had a great season and scored against the Netherlands. Before the final, perhaps Ollie will come up with a new goal-scoring story and then implement it on the pitch.

One of Southgate’s assistants at the Euros is the former Chelsea striker. You probably remember him:

The legendary Dutchman is leading England to the Euro final. He has already helped them win the penalty shoot-out.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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