Name: Ollie Watkins
Date of Birth: 30 December 1995
Ollie Watkins is a 25-year-old centre-forward currently playing his football over at Brentford in the Championship. He grew up in Newton Abbot and some of his first gigs in the sport that would later on become his life were at Exeter City. He finally joined their academy at U11 level, having previously been rejected when he was only nine years old in 2003. But that stay in the academy would indeed prove to be quite good and Watkins sore through the ranks to land into the first-team after only a year.
He signed his scholarship in 2012 and by 2014, he also penned his first professional contract, winning his first call-ups and appearances for Exeter in the 2013/14 season. And this was a start of something special for the youngster as he would remain at the club for the following couple of years, albeit with a short loan spell at Weston-super-Mare along the way.
The loan happened between 2014 and 2015 and Watkins would record 24 appearances for the Seagulls, scoring ten goals and actually developing quite a bit as well. This was essentially his first big shot at a regular role in a senior team and he embraced it with both hands. And upon return to Exeter, Watkins was adamant on succeeding there as well.
The now 25-year-old forward ended up playing a total of 78 games for them, scoring 26 goals and also adding 17 assists on the side as well. Needless to say, it was quite a return for such a young player and soon afterwards, Brentford came knocking on the door. In the summer of 2017, Watkins joined the Bees on a four-year contract, signing an extension soon after that, in 2019.
Since then, he has scored 49 goals and assisted 17 across 142 games for Brentford, surely cementing his spot as one of the most important players in the squad and one that has gone through tremendous development since his early years at Exeter and beyond that.
Now, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that he is a wanted man and could very well be on the move to greener pastures quite soon. He is surely ready for it.
With his rise through the ranks, Watkins has become a prime target for many Premier League outfits as of late and many transfer rumours have indeed connected him with a switch to the English top-tier. Some of the latest transfer news, however, suggest the newly-promoted Leeds United might look to secure his signature in an attempt to boost their squad for the upcoming challenge.
The 25-year-old has been tipped to join the Whites in numerous Leeds United transfer news so far and it will be interesting to see how Brentford respond to the rumours.
As it currently stands, the Bees might indeed struggle to keep Watkins around for much longer.
Even though he used to be a winger by trade, Watkins has successfully transitioned into the role of a centre-forward. All of his best traits that he possessed as a wide man, however, have been retained and combined with the new skill set he had to adopt with the switch, the 25-year-old comes with an impressive package, to say the least.
He is extremely athletic and can use his clever positioning and off-the-ball movement to confuse the markers and both create and exploit the space behind their backs brilliantly. When necessary, Watkins can also be used to pin back the centre-backs and give more freedom to his teammates that way. With good dribbling abilities as well as knowing when to drop, drift or move away from his position, courtesy of his winger days, the 25-year-old can cause chaos in the final third.
On top of that, he seems to give Brentford a decent aerial threat as well.