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Ollie Watkins: From Non-League to Euro 2024 Hero

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CS3W61MH

Ollie Watkins, the hero of England’s Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands, has come a long way in his football career. Just over four years ago, he was playing in the English Football League for Exeter City, and now he has scored one of the most important goals in England’s history. Watkins’ rise to prominence is a testament to his hard work, determination, and talent.

Unlike many England players who started their careers at top clubs, Watkins began his journey at Exeter City, a lower-league team. His first manager at Exeter, Paul Tisdale, praised his attitude and physical abilities but noted that he didn’t reach his full potential until he was given a chance to play as a striker. After a successful loan spell at Weston-super-Mare, where he scored 10 goals in 18 starts, Watkins broke into the Exeter team as a striker and caught the attention of Championship club Brentford.

Watkins joined Brentford in 2017 for £1.8m and continued to impress with his goal-scoring ability. He scored 49 goals in 143 games for the Bees, becoming their most expensive Championship player ever. In 2020, he made another big move to Aston Villa for £28m and has since scored 70 goals in 169 games for the club. Last season, Watkins scored 19 Premier League goals, helping Villa qualify for the Champions League.

His former manager at Brentford and Villa, Dean Smith, praised Watkins’ progress and highlighted his improved emotional control as a key factor in his success. Watkins has become a more selfish player, which has allowed him to accept missed chances and stay focused on the next opportunity. Despite his impressive performances, Watkins felt overlooked when it came to international selection. He didn’t believe he had a big enough profile or received enough recognition for his achievements.

However, Gareth Southgate saw Watkins’ potential and included him in the Euro 2024 squad. In the semi-final against the Netherlands, Southgate brought Watkins on as a substitute to replace Harry Kane. With just minutes left in the match, Watkins seized his opportunity and scored the winning goal, securing England’s place in the final against Spain.

Watkins’ goal came as no surprise to his teammates and pundits. They praised his attitude, patience, and ability to make a difference when called upon. Former England striker Ian Wright commended Watkins for his perfect shot and credited him with changing the game. The goal not only showcased Watkins’ talent but also demonstrated the unity and determination of the England team.

As England prepares for the Euro 2024 final, Watkins’ journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring footballers. His rise from lower-league football to scoring crucial goals for his country is a testament to the power of hard work, self-belief, and perseverance. Regardless of the outcome of the final, Watkins has already made a name for himself and proven that dreams can become reality with dedication and talent.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CS3W61MH
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