Euro 2024 – Netherlands – England – Ollie Watkins, the incredible destiny of the man who had seen it all

Euro 2024 – Netherlands – England – Ollie Watkins, the incredible destiny of the man who had seen it all
Euro 2024 – Netherlands – England – Ollie Watkins, the incredible destiny of the man who had seen it all

81st minute of play, Wednesday evening in Dortmund: Ollie Watkins doesn’t know it yet, but his life is going to change (a little). The Aston Villa striker is launched by Gareth Southgate in place of Harry Kane while England and the Netherlands are held to a draw in this second semi-final of the Euro (1-1).

However, some had warned him. “Some friends messaged me and told me to be patienthe said after the meeting. And the amount of people who messaged me tonight, saying I’d score when I got back… it was insane.”

But very real. 91st minute of play: Cole Palmer, who came on at the same time as him, serves him perfectly in the area. His oriented control to free himself from Stefan de Vrij is top-notch. His cross shot is clinical. England’s destiny changes, his too. As he had also imagined.

Ollie Watkins

Credit: Getty Images

I told Dean Henderson I could make a difference

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for weeks. I swear on my life I told Cole Palmer he was going to serve me today and I was going to score. (…) When I was on the bench, I told Dean Henderson I could make a difference today and I had to come on.” It must be said that Watkins has had plenty of time to dream, imagine, predict. Until now, he had only been given 20 minutes of play against Denmark in the group stage. Not a crumb more.

“Recently I was obviously a little frustrated. I don’t like being on the bench, I’ve just had the best season of my career.”continued the man who accumulated 19 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League last season.

A deliverance for the 28-year-old striker. And a source of pride for the entire group. “I’m so happy for him. He doesn’t start every game like he does at club level and it’s difficult,” Jude Bellingham pointed out. “You can have five minutes, one minute, but you can make the difference, you can win a tournament. He waited, he was patient. What he did is remarkable and he deserves it,” insisted his captain Harry Kane.

Ollie Watkins et Gareth Southgate

Credit: Getty Images

I was just focused on getting back into the first team at Exeter

The Dutch will have nightmares about it, but it was a fairy tale that was written before the eyes of the Dortmund crowd on Wednesday. Watkins was still playing in League Two, the English fourth division, in 2017 with Exeter. In 2020, he had never seen higher than the Championship (D2) with Brentford.

Everything has been moving faster with Aston Villa for the past four seasons. Until this moment of grace. “I never thought I’d be playing in the Euros for England. You can always dream but I’m realistic. I was just focused on getting back into the first team at Exeter…” And here he is in the Euro final.

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