Watkins: The best feeling ever


Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins declared himself “the happiest man ever” after sending England to the European Championship final.

The Aston Villa striker drilled home one of the most significant goals in the history of the men’s national team – sending the Three Lions to Sunday’s Euro 2024 final against Spain.

With the semi-final level and heading for extra-time, Watkins stepped off the bench as an 81st-minute substitute before converting the dramatic injury-time winner which secured a memorable 2-1 success over the Netherlands.

Asked about his emotions when the ball hit the back of the net, Watkins said: “It was unbelievable; the best feeling ever.

“So many emotions came across and came to me.

“As soon as I saw it go in the bottom corner, it was the best feeling ever.

“I don’t know how to describe it – I’m the happiest man ever!”

Ollie Watkins

Watkins continued: “I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and I’ve been ready, I’ve been waiting, sitting on the bench ready.

“I said to all the subs that I was going to run over and celebrate with them if I ever score because we’re all part of it.

“We’ve been training hard, working and trying to get on to the pitch and it’s not easy, everyone wants to play.

“So, I thought it was important I shared that moment with all the boys and we’re all together.”

Ollie Watkins

Watkins received the ball from fellow substitute Cole Palmer before taking a touch, turning and sending a powerful low strike across goal and into the far bottom corner – sparking wild scenes of celebration among the Three Lions faithful in Dortmund.

The Villa forward was duly mobbed by his team-mates amid the jubilation as England went on to secure their place in Sunday’s final.

Watkins’ positive impact and 91st-minute winner, which secured the Player of the Match award, came after an impressive domestic season in claret and blue in which he scored 19 Premier League goals and registered 13 assists for Villa.

“I said to Cole at half-time that we’re both going to come on and he’s going to set me up,” said Watkins.

“I have a great relationship with Cole, there’s certain players you just vibe off and your link-up play is good. And he was the one who looked for me.

“I knew when he had that ball that he was going to look for me and I had to take my opportunity.”

Watkins becomes just the second Villa player to score a major tournament goal for England after David Platt at the 1990 World Cup.

Gareth Southgate’s side will now face Spain in Sunday’s showpiece finale in Berlin (ko 8pm) – England’s second successive European Championship final.

It is the first time the men’s national team have reached a major tournament final on foreign soil.

“We’ve gone through so much, going goals behind, drawing games, having a little bit of criticism but we’ve bounced back and we’ve got one more game to go,” Watkins added.

Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa

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