Ollie Watkins: The transition from winger to striker


After losing talisman Neal Maupay to Brighton last year many wondered where the goals would come from, especially after not replacing him directly.

But manager Thomas Frank knew about someone most people didn’t, Ollie Watkins.

After picking up the EFL young player of the, award in 2017, Watkins made the move to London, joining Brentford for a reported £1.8 million from Exeter. He was often deployed as a winger through out his first two years at the club but was groomed by Frank to fill the void left by Maupay who bagged 25 goals in the Championship season. Looking back, it was a master stroke by the Bees boss.

Fast forward to today, the 24 year old is the league’s joint top scorer with 24 goals and has played a huge role in his side’s promotion push. Along with Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbuemo, the trio have blown away the championship, scoring 57 goals between them.

Right foot, left foot or a header, Watkins has displayed the ability to score various type of goals through out his career but his ability to quickly transition to being an out and out striker has been even more impressive.

In his first two years at the club, he was creative outlet, taking on players one vs one, creating chances for himself as well as being a goal scorer, seen through his double digit goal tally in both seasons. However, it has been the other way round this season, with the creativity left to the likes of Benrahma and Mbuemo, Watkins sole focus has been finding the back of the net. He has been lethal inside the box, scoring 22 of his 24 goals inside the area, eight of those coming with his head.

It’s no wonder he has been getting linked to Premier League clubs through out  the whole season, with the likes of Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham all reportedly interested in him. Having signed a new contract last august, it’s widely believed that Watkins has a release clause of £18 Million.

With just three games to go of the regular season, Watkins will look to become the league’s top scorer ahead of the visit of Preston. Speaking about the possibility of winning the golden boot he said,

“I don’t really talk about it. Don’t get me wrong it would be nice to win it but the main goal is promotion. If I could do both that would be brilliant but the main aim is to be playing Premier League football next year”

Brentford could go within just a point of second placed West Brom after their 0-0 draw with Fulham yesterday evening.

On the other hand, Preston are still eyeing a play-off spot and a win would close the gap to sixth placed Cardiff to just two points.


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Football correspondent from London covering the Premier League Football and EFL.

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