Ollie Watkins interview: Brentford forward on rise from Exeter to Premier League promotion bid
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Last Updated: 11/02/20 6:31am
"He deserves everything he is going to get. I tipped him to be a superstar and he will play international football."
Former Premier League forward and Republic of Ireland international Clinton Morrison has never doubted the potential of former Exeter team-mate Ollie Watkins.
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The Brentford forward is now chasing his Premier League dream. He scored his 20th goal of the Championship season to give the Bees a late 3-2 victory against Middlesbrough on Saturday to maintain their promotion push.
But just what does Watkins believe has helped him to become the joint-top goalscorer in the Championship this season since swapping St James Park for Griffin Park in July 2017?
Speaking to Morrison, Watkins told Sky Sports News: "I remember you always saying [at Exeter] you have got to stay in the box and it will come to you.
"This year I have adapted and learnt how to get those tap-in goals, the easy goals that are sometimes the hardest.
"I am really enjoying it this year and hopefully I can go and score some more goals."
Watkins, 24, was playing League Two football three years ago and only in 2015 was in the Conference South at Weston-super-Mare on loan.
The Exeter academy product is first to credit former boss Paul Tisdale, who also oversaw the development of Ethan Ampadu and Matt Grimes, for providing him the platform to make his first strides in the senior game.
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"Tis gave me my opportunity," he said. "He didn't really put too much pressure on me. He just let me express myself and go out and play."
Watkins has turned from a winger at the outset of his career to a prolific striker under Brentford head coach Thomas Frank and in November was drawing comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo from the Dane.
At the end of the day people just like to look at the Sky Sports app and see who scores!
Speaking earlier in the season, Frank said: "He's definitely a number nine now, because he's so flexible.
"Cristiano Ronaldo did quite well in the beginning as a winger. Hopefully Ollie can do something similar."
Despite the departure of last season's top goalscorer Neal Maupay to Brighton last summer, Brentford have continued their brand of free-flowing football with Watkins in a front three alongside Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo.
"The dynamic of the team allows me not to be a target man, but we play the ball to feet a lot," Watkins said.
"I can run in behind and use my pace. I think I have adapted quite well but obviously there is still a lot of work to be done."
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He added: "The amount of time this year the defender watches the ball and not me and I am just left there to tap it in is unbelievable.
"I prefer to score goals inside the box. At the end of the day people just like to look at the Sky Sports app and see who scores!"
Brentford sit two points behind second-placed Leeds ahead of hosting Marcelo Bielsa's side on Tuesday and Watkins retains belief the club can celebrate moving to their new stadium next season with Premier League football.
"That would be the dream scenario," Watkins said.
"But we have got to take each step as it comes. Hopefully we beat [Leeds] and then go onto the next game and we will see what happens."