Watkins thrilled with Three Lions goal

HATTERS midfielder Adam Watkins was the hero for England C on Tuesday night as he came off the bench to net an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 International Challenge Trophy draw with Italy, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 1st March 2012, 11:47 am

Watkins was thrust into action with a little over 15 minutes remaining, but in the closing stages, pounced on an error by Italian keeper Alberto Brignoli to level the scores.

The Town starlet said: “We had done a bit of research on the keeper and said that he’s had a mistake in him.

“He’s flapped at it outside the box, it’s come on my left foot and I’ve just looped it over and it’s gone in.

“To score for your nation, I was really happy. My family was there, so to score in front of them was a good thing for me.

“I was just delighted to help the team as it was against a strong Italian side and it’s just great to be playing.”

Boss Paul Fairclough gave Watkins a brief warning before he was called upon, and the midfielder was pleased to take his chance to impress.

He said: “He (Fairclough) called me over before I came on and told me.

“He said he wanted me to get in the game and make an impact.

“I did my best and thank God I did make an impact.

“I settled into the game well and hopefully I can do that at club level as well for Luton.”

Although England C only had a couple of days’ preparation for the match, Watkins was pleased with how quickly they came together as a side.

He continued: “It was a great experience, it was different class just being around everyone.

“It was a great couple of days and I thought we gelled well as a side considering the amount of time we had together.

“We had two training sessions where we worked a little bit on shape.

“We did what we had to do though, did a little bit on them (Italy) and we knew they’d be strong and they proved that.

“So to get a point against them, we’ll take that all day and hopefully when we play Russia, we’ll beat them.”

The next England C game is in Russia on June 4 and Watkins appreciates he will only be picked if he maintains his impressive performances at Kenilworth Road.

He said: “He (Fairclough) only goes by form, but my situation is a little bit different, there’s a lot of midfielders at the club.

“I’ve just got carry on with my form for Luton and hopefully I’ll be picked again for the trip to Russia which would certainly be a tough game.”

Watkins has been on the bench for the last few Luton matches after playing eight successive league games.

He is well aware that with the likes of Keith Keane, Alex Lawless, Andre Boucaud, John Paul Kissock and Godfrey Poku, he faces an ongoing battle for a central midfield berth.

Watkins added: “I played eight games in a row and thought I did well.

“We’ve got a big squad and he (Gary Brabin) likes to rotate it.

“I don’t expect to start every game, even though I’d love to, it’s easier said than done with the squad we’ve got.

“JP has proved that it’s going to be tough for me to get back in because he’s been outstanding.

“He (Brabin) can do whatever he likes.

“He can pick a lot of different sides, so I’ll be in the side for the games he wants me in.

“It all depends what game it is, what side he wants and any time I’m involved, I’m delighted to be there.”

The midfielder will be hoping he is back in the starting line-up to face bottom side Bath City this weekend, but despite their opponents’ worrying position, 10 points from safety, Watkins is not expecting a walkover.

He added: “We don’t underestimate any side in this league, we’ve still got to earn the right to play against Bath.

“They’re no mugs and proved that when we played them at their place. They’re a good side.

“Hopefully if we’re on our game and the crowd are behind us, we’ll do well.”

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