Watkins story can ‘inspire others’ says former Weston manager Northmore

PUBLISHED: 20:01 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 20:03 09 September 2020

Ollie Watkins in action for Weston against Hemel Hempstead during his loan spell with The Seagulls in the 2014-15 season. Picture: Mark Atherton

Ollie Watkins in action for Weston against Hemel Hempstead during his loan spell with The Seagulls in the 2014-15 season. Picture: Mark Atherton


Ollie Watkins’ former manager at Weston says his story can “inspire others”, after he signed for Premier League outfit Aston Villa in a club-record transfer fee of £28m from Brentford, which could rise to £33m with add-ons.

Former Weston boss Ryan Northmore.Former Weston boss Ryan Northmore.

Ryan Northmore bought Watkins to The Seagulls on loan in the 2014-15 season from Exeter City and went on to score 10 goals in 25 appearances.

Following his return to The Grecians, Watkins established himself in the starting 11 for the next two seasons before his move to The Bees in the summer of 2017.

“It’s great for him and thoroughly deserved,” said Northmore.

“It’s nice for Weston to be a part of his story too, and more importantly could help to inspire more young players in the South West and beyond to see what is possible if you have a consistently good attitude and meet the right people along the way.

“Young players can learn from his attitude, his desire to maintain a course that he believes in.

“That’s the fundamental message in Ollie’s story that can inspire others.

“The notion that players futures are somewhat decided at 18/19/20 is rubbish but that idea lingers in football, despite many players proving the rule wrong. But Ollie is himself and young unestablished players need to be themselves too.”

Watkins move to Villa, who scored 26 goals in 50 matches on his way to picking up the Championship Player of the Season, will see him play under Dean Smith again after the former Brentford manager bought him to Griffin Park and Northmore has high hopes he can do well in the top flight.

“He has grown into a striker that can meet the demands of the modern game in the Premier League he has many dimensions to his game that will be discovered the more he plays,” he added.

“There’s always a question mark on whether he can do it, but that has existed every time he has taken a step up in his career and he has proved he can live and perform well with that at every step he has taken.

“It’s actually quite an emotional thing to see someone progress when I have had the pleasure to contribute in some way to their story. It’s why I am in coaching to work with and the best players I can.”

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