England 1-0 Australia Is Ollie Watkins the potential successor to Harry Kane?


England 1-0 Australia Is Ollie Watkins the potential successor to Harry Kane?

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Following a 563-day absence, Ollie Watkins showcased his talent once more for England, securing a goal in Friday’s subdued friendly against Australia. The Aston Villa forward, in impeccable form, seized the chance to impress Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate.

Expressing his elation, Watkins conveyed, ‘It’s been a long wait. I anticipated this call-up and was determined not to let this opportunity slip away. Scoring was always on my mind.’

Now, has Watkins emerged as the prime contender to deputize for Harry Kane in the striking position? Additionally, Southgate has criticized fans for booing Henderson, deeming it illogical.

Leaving an Impression

Credit By: www.bbc.com

As the stalwart England captain with a staggering record of 59 goals for his country, Kane’s position in Southgate’s squad remains undisputed. However, the question of who would step in for the Bayern Munich striker in the event of an injury is less apparent.

Watkins’ resurgence in the England team reflects his outstanding performances for Aston Villa this season. Under Unai Emery, Watkins has netted seven goals across various competitions, including two impressive hat-tricks. His return to international football has been marked by sharpness and relentless drive.

His recent goal marked his third in eight games for the Three Lions. Southgate’s pool of alternatives comprises experienced options such as Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Newcastle’s Callum Wilson, Brentford’s Ivan Toney, and Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah.

With 55 caps, Rashford stands as the most seasoned among Southgate’s choices, having scored 16 goals for England. Nevertheless, his effectiveness often extends beyond the central role. Wilson, with nine caps and two goals, has showcased promise, while Toney and Nketiah, with limited international exposure, represent the emerging talent.

Former Australia and Leeds forward Harry Kewell remarked, “Watkins possesses the attributes to exert pressure on Kane. His blend of power, strength, and speed, particularly his intimidating pace, is a cause for concern for defenders.”

Echoing similar sentiments, ex-England and Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy added, “I’d argue he’s currently at the peak of his game. He exudes fitness, strength, and confidence. Not only is he skilled in possession, but his ability to exploit spaces is commendable. His relentless energy sets him apart; he never ceases to push forward.”

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Who Deserves to Back Up Harry Kane for England?

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Watkins Demonstrates Resilience in Leaving a Mark

BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty remarked on Watkins’ decisive impact, as he secured England’s triumph over Australia, underscoring his tenacity in making an impression on his return to the international stage.

The formidable striker from Aston Villa had previously appeared for England in March 2022 before initiating and scoring the winning goal at Wembley in a close encounter.

When Watkins converted Grealish’s shot from practically on the goal line, it was a simple finish that held immense significance for him, showcasing his unwavering determination.

It also served as recognition for his perseverance, as an Australia defender’s slight touch denied him an easy tap-in in the first half, followed by a missed opportunity where he hit the post with an angled effort.

While England’s captain Kane maintains his prominent position upfront, Watkins aspires to contend for the role of his understudy. Each goal adds weight to this ambition, regardless of the simplicity of the opportunity.

Recognizing the vacancies within Southgate’s squad, with Euro 2024 qualification almost certain, Watkins acknowledges the ongoing competition. Despite returning to the bench for the match against Italy, he takes pride in securing another England goal, emphasizing his unwavering resolve to achieve this feat during the game at Wembley.

In the event that Southgate is compelled to manage without Kane, Watkins and others in contention for the role will be under scrutiny. Notably, a winning goal, even in a friendly, bolsters their case.

Emphasizing a Need for a Proactive Approach

Regarding Friday’s match, Southgate acknowledged the demanding nature of the game for his relatively inexperienced team.

We made numerous changes, making it a challenging situation for the players,” he stated. “Playing at the international level without significant prior caps is tough. We lacked cohesion, and I presented them with a truly demanding task. Australia performed well, displaying athleticism and strong organization. I’m satisfied with the victory, considering the circumstances.”

While England achieved the necessary victory, there were few performances likely to keep Southgate awake as he contemplates the lineup for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy next Tuesday, where a win would secure their spot in the tournament in Germany next summer.

Although the Australia match was a friendly, former England and Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock suggested that a more attacking-minded manager could have led to a more resounding result.

I find Gareth overly cautious,” he commented on BBC Radio 5 live. I believe with a more proactive manager, we could dominate world football. I truly believe this squad of players is capable of that, given their exciting potential.”

He continued, “When you see the lineup, you’re immediately struck by the quality of the players on display. However, knowing the manager’s style, you anticipate a more defensively rigid approach, and that’s disheartening.




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