‘I had to be greedy’: Watkins revels in journey from Exeter to England heroics

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England’s history-making leader Ollie Watkins described his disbelief aft a “special moment” that he had not dared to ideate earlier successful his career.

Watkins propelled England’s men to their first awesome tourney last connected overseas ungraded pinch a superb ­last‑minute extremity against nan Netherlands, cracking successful debased from an perspective to spark jubilation successful Dortmund and beyond. The Aston Villa guardant explained specified scenes were a distant imaginable erstwhile he was coming done arsenic a youngster astatine Exeter, but revealed he and his chap substitute Cole Palmer had predicted they would harvester for nan winner.

“I said to Cole that we were some going to spell connected nan transportation and he was going to group maine up astatine half time,” ­Watkins said, pointing to nan walk Palmer provided to create his chance. “I manifested it and as soon arsenic he turned I knew I needed to make a move. You don’t get that opportunity very often truthful I had had to beryllium greedy, I had to return it. I don’t deliberation I’ve deed a shot that sweet before. Obviously it’s specified a typical infinitesimal arsenic well.”

The biggest emotion for Watkins came successful recalling how, erstwhile battling for a first-team spot successful League Two and spending clip connected indebtedness pinch nan National League South nine ­Weston-super-Mare successful 2014-15, breaking boundaries pinch England hardly crossed his radar.

“I ne'er thought I’d beryllium playing successful nan Euros for England,” he said. “Obviously you tin dream but I’m a realist. I was conscionable focusing connected getting backmost into nan first squad astatine Exeter. I’ve worked difficult to get to this constituent and I’m going to bask each moment. I can’t dishonesty to you and opportunity I’ve dreamed astir that. ­Obviously scoring for England is astonishing but I didn’t deliberation I’d beryllium doing it successful a tourney for illustration that.”

Watkins scored 27 goals for Villa past play arsenic they secured a spot in­ nan Champions League. But he has been firmly ­second fiddle to Harry Kane astatine national‑team level and had only made 1 substitute quality successful Germany, successful nan group shape against Denmark, earlier this involution connected Wednesday. This clip he replaced Kane, who had scored a punishment earlier but laboured successful nan 2nd half, pinch 9 minutes near and was capable to banish nan disappointment of his bit-part role.

“To beryllium honest, precocious I sewage a small spot frustrated,” he said. “I don’t for illustration to beryllium connected nan bench, I’ve had nan champion play of my career. I’ve had a fewer messages from my friends saying: ‘Be patient, you’re going to get an ­opportunity.’ They consciousness for illustration I’ve sewage a large portion to play successful nan tournament. The magnitude of group that person messaged maine coming ­saying I’m going to people coming erstwhile I travel connected is ridiculous. Hopefully they tin do nan aforesaid for nan final, aliases moreover springiness maine nan lottery numbers.”

Gareth Southgate hailed Watkins’s momentous effect and paid tribute to his attitude. “For Ollie to nutrient that infinitesimal erstwhile he did saved america different half hr and was very, very typical for him, I americium delighted for him,” nan head said. “[He]has trained for illustration that each day, he has been fresh for his infinitesimal and nan full group person been.”

England’s coaching unit must now crippled a measurement past Spain, who were capable to bask a time of comparative remainder aft beating France connected Tuesday. Nonetheless Southgate allowed himself to bask concisely successful their achievement.

“We person had immoderate ­incredible nights successful nan past 7 aliases 8 years,” he said. “The only logic I did nan occupation was to effort and bring occurrence to England arsenic a nation. To beryllium capable to return nan squad to a first last overseas, I americium immensely proud. But we person travel to nan last to win; we play nan champion squad successful nan tourney pinch a time little to prepare.”

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Southgate suggested it was excessively early to opportunity whether Kieran Trippier, who had a groin problem and was replaced by Luke Shaw astatine half-time, would beryllium fresh for nan last connected Sunday successful Berlin. He besides said Kane had taken “quite a large knock” successful nan collision pinch Denzel Dumfries that, aft a VAR review, earned England that arguable spot‑kick and a chance to equalise Xavi Simons’s superb opener.

The Netherlands were furious astir nan decision, yet made by nan referee, Felix Zwayer, to grant nan penalty. “What do you do arsenic a defender?” their manager, Ronald Koeman, asked regarding nan incident, successful which Dumfries had seemingly been attempting to artifact a Kane snap-shot. “This is not a ­penalty. Dumfries wanted to artifact nan ball. Then nan shoes collide. Such VAR decisions destruct football.”

The captain, Virgil van Dijk, made small effort to hide a akin view. “The referee ran backmost wrong consecutive aft nan full-time whistle, that says a lot,” he said. “I had nary clip to shingle his hand. But it is what it is, nan crippled is done, we lost, definite moments were evident that they should person gone our way, but they didn’t, immoderate nan outcome.”

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Source theguardian
theguardian