England vs Australia: What did match-winner Ollie Watkins make about his performance?

It was a game of very few chances and in the end, all that required was one goal to separate the sides. That lone strike came from Ollie Watkins near the hour mark.

File photo - Ollie Watkins in action for Aston Villa. Credits: Twitter/@AVFCOfficial
By Karthik Raman | Oct 14, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

England had to dig deep to register a hard-fought 1-0 win over Australia in an international friendly on Friday night. It was a game of very few chances and in the end, all that required was one goal to separate the sides. That lone strike came from Ollie Watkins near the hour mark in the match. However, it is to be noted that Gareth Southgate named a completely changed starting line-up than the one he normally uses.

Despite the changes to the Starting XI, England were still expected to comfortably get the win in their own backyard. However, it was not a straightforward victory, as the Three Lions had to work extremely hard to get over the line. After the game, the match-winner Ollie Watkins spoke about his performance on the night. “It is always an honour putting on this shirt. It has been a long time coming. I have been waiting a long time for the next call up. I was looking forward to it and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip,” Watkins told Channel 4.

He added: “Jack has gone to shoot and he has dragged it. I don’t known if it was going in, my first thought it was going in and I took it off him. I was looking at him and saying ‘not sure if it was going in’. I am playing with top players, I knew I’d get another chance. There was a few times before I got called up and didn’t think I deserved it but now I am coming in confident in myself off the back of good form. I was not nervous and just tried to perform in front of all these fans. I scored, it was a good night.”

What did Gareth Southgate say?

Later, England manager Gareth Southgate gave his verdict on the match, as he went on to praise Australia for their performance on the night. “We made a lot of changes, that made it really difficult for the players. It is tough playing international football when you haven’t got a lot of caps behind you. We were not cohesive, I gave them a really tough challenge. Australia were good, they were athletic and well organised. I am pleased for the win after putting them in the position. We have given two debuts, very pleased with Ollie Watkins,” he told Channel 4.

He added: “There were some positives, we know we can play better but it was tough for the players. We saw a lot of things we knew. You need to give players the opportunity on this stage. We were too narrow as a back three when we were building. The most joy we had was getting the ball to the feet of our wingers and get in from there. In some positions we have huge depth and in others we haven’t. We have to constantly keep looking. We have an under-21 team who are playing very well. We need that competition for places and of course there are some senior players who are injured.”

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