Duncan Watmore Impresses Once More

How often do you hear of a footballer or in fact a player of any sport, come onto the field of play with fifteen minutes to go and walk off at the end with the man of the match award? Not many will come to mind I presume, if any. Last night Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore did just that during England Under 21’s victory over Switzerland.

Duncan Watmore Impresses Once More

Over the past year Watmore has steadily improved and gained more and more admirers as time has passed. Last season a broken leg couldn’t stop him from being named the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Player of the Season after a string of excellent performances, which produced 11 goals in 18 appearances. He made his debut for the England Under 20 side at last summers Toulon Tournament where he scored twice, registered two assists, was named in the official team of the tournament, as well as being voted the revelation of the tournament.

This season he has made the transition from Under 21’s to the first team squad at his club, Sunderland, with ease. He has mainly been used as a substitute but made his full debut in Sunderland’s last home game against Southampton. Although he was on the losing side, Watmore did well in an otherwise poor display by Sunderland. Along with his promotion to the first team squad with the Black Cats, Gareth Southgate, England’s U21 manager, brought him into his squad from August. A good season looks to be on the cards for this talented young man.

Last night, however, Watmore’s stock could well have risen significantly. He started on the bench for England U21’s Euro 2017 qualifier against Switzerland. England were looking to continue their unbeaten start to their campaign but during the first 45 minutes England failed to make possession count, did little creatively and Switzerland were happy to let England play in front of them and hit England on the counter attack if the opportunity arose. On 45 minutes Switzerland punished England and went into half time winning 0-1.

With just 15 minutes left and the score still 0-1, Southgate introduced Watmore. Almost immediately he started causing problems, shooting over and then he won the penalty, which would bring the scores level after being fouled the Swiss keeper. Then in the 85th minute his right foot drive from outside the box deflected into the bottom right corner. Watmore then completed his man of the match performance by setting up fellow substitute Chuba Akpom in injury time to score England’s third goal and secure the victory.

After the game manager Gareth Southgate had this to say on Watmore’s contribution to the victory, “It’s no surprise he’s an intelligent player because he is an intelligent boy. He picks up ideas really quickly. He’s a raw, emerging talent but that’s the sort of impact he has. He has been a pleasure to work with. His pathway into this team has been a little bit different to others. To respond as he did to not starting as he did was a great sign for us as a team. Certainly he will maximise his ability because he has a desire to improve. He’s showed what he is capable of; I’m chuffed to bits for him and it’s lovely for him to take centre stage.” (via Mail Online)

Watmore added, “I’m obviously delighted, you always want to start football games but when you’re on the bench you’ve got to make an impact and show the manager what you can do, and try to change the game. That’s your role as a substitute and hopefully I did do that, which I was very grateful for but we got the win and that was the main thing.”

Speaking about his man of the match award, he said: “That’s always a nice bonus but what makes the difference is the fact that we’ve got 10 points at the top of the group and that’s the most important thing.” (via ChronicleLive)

The future certainly looks very bright for this young man, he has performed well during every opportunity he has been given and has also given some experienced defenders many problems with his pace, skill and directness. He looks to have the desire to take these opportunities with both hands and if he continues on this same path and continues to learn and improve then he has a very big future in the game. Sunderland and England, certainly at this moment in time seem to have a real star on their hands and its up to them and himself to make sure he achieves as much as he can. England fans should keep the name Duncan Watmore in mind as there is every chance that he could be an England regular and star in the future.


SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25 : Duncan Watmore of Sunderland celebrates scoring their fifth goal during the Capital One Cup Second Round match between Sunderland and Exeter City at Stadium of Light on August 25, 2015 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)