Ollie Watkins believed that his winner against Australia was “a long time coming,” as England prevailed 1-0 in a friendly.
Watkins poked in a 57th minute goal into the bottom right corner from Jack Grealish’s low cross to seal the victory for England, in an otherwise scrappy performance from Gareth Southgate’s much-changed Three Lions.
“It’s always an honour putting on the shirt and it’s been a long time coming,” reflected Watkins who has scored his third international goal in eight caps, and his first England goal since he scored in a friendly win over Ivory Coast in March 2022.
That goal also marked the last time that he had been called up for England so he is glad to take advantage of this chance, as he explained: “I’ve been waiting a long time for the next call up and the camp so I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip. I’m glad I got my goal and it helped the team to win.”
Watkins though wasted a few chances but refused to leave the pitch without a goal as he added: “I knew I wasn’t going to come off this pitch without a goal tonight. That’s what I had in my mind, the first chance just went under my foot.
“With the second one I think I did everything right I just didn’t hit it right. I knew I’d get another chance, I’m playing with top players, so I had to keep driving.”
Although Grealish’s low cross could of crept across the line, Watkins felt that he had to snatch that third international goal ahead of his ex Aston Villa teammate – who also had only two England goals, as he said: “I think Jack has gone to shoot and he’s dragged it, so I don’t think it was going in.
“Like I said, 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 however is wary of the difficulty in forcing his way into the first-team ahead of players like Harry Kane and the injured Bukayo Saka, but believes that he has put himself in contention for future call-ups.
“There’s so many good forwards around scoring goals and it’s just about taking your opportunity when you get it. I’m delighted to get the opportunity tonight and I’m happy about that.”