England striker Ollie Watkins has admitted he thought the assist from Jack Grealish for his winner against Australia was going in itself before adding the final touch.
The Three Lions saw off the Socceroos with a 1-0 triumph at Wembley Stadium on Friday night. Gareth Southgate used the friendly as a chance to test out some of his lesser-used players, allowing Watkins to start in place of captain Harry Kane.
The Aston Villa forward spurned a great chance to break the deadlock in the first half when he raced onto a through ball from James Maddison and rounded goalkeeper Mat Ryan, only for his shot to hit the post instead.
He did get another golden opportunity to score just after the break and this time took it. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s lofty switch of play was cleverly brought under control by Grealish, whose cross-cum-shot was helped over the line by Watkins.
Speaking to Channel 4 post-match, Watkins spoke of the need to take his rare chance of a start for England.
“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 said.
“I think Jack’s gone to shoot and he’s dragged it, I don’t know if it’s going in. My first thought was it was, but I’ve took it off him. When you get the opportunity, you have to grab it with both hands, so I had to take it off him even if it was going in!”
Watkins added: “I knew I wasn’t going to come off this pitch without the goal, that was in my mind.
“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.
“There’s so many good forwards around scoring goals and it is about taking your opportunity when you are on the pitch.
“It was a tough game. A lot of us haven’t played together before. We got the goal and saw it out. There’s obviously a lot to work on.”
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