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Published 13 October 2023 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Ollie Watkins and James Maddison on Australia win

Written by:

Ben Hart

The Three Lions pair reflect on their 1-0 victory over the Socceroos at Wembley Stadium


England pair Ollie Watkins and James Maddison are both hoping that their displays in the victory over Australia at Wembley will put them in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts for the future.

Watkins scored a second-half winner for the Three Lions to secure the win against a tough Socceroos outfit in what was his first international appearance since March 2022.

And the in-form Aston Villa striker was delighted to notch, after turning home Jack Grealish’s cross-shot shortly after the break.

“It’s always an honour putting on the shirt and it’s been a long time coming,” he said.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for the next call up and the camp so I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip. I’m glad I got my goal and it helped the team to win.
Watkins is congratulated by his team mates after opening the scoring against the Aussies
Watkins is congratulated by his team mates after opening the scoring against the Aussies
“I knew I wasn’t going to come off this pitch without a goal tonight. That’s what I had in my mind, the first chance just went under my foot. With the second one I think I did everything right I just didn’t hit it right. I knew I’d get another chance, I’m playing with top players, so I had to keep driving.

“I think Jack has gone to shoot and he’s dragged it, so I don’t think it was going in. Like I said, when you get the opportunity you have to grab it with both hands so I had to take it off him even if it was going in.”

With a crucial UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier coming up against Italy at Wembley, the former Exeter City and Brentford player is now hoping he’s helped play his way into Southgate’s thoughts for selection.

“There’s so many good forwards around scoring goals and it’s just about taking your opportunity when you get it. I’m delighted to get the opportunity tonight and I’m happy about that.”

For Maddison, it was more of a case of building on the last year, which has seen him become a regular face in the Three Lions squad.

Capable of playing a midfield role or in a more advanced position, the Tottenham Hotspur man believes his versatility can be an option but he’s more than happy to figure wherever for his manager.

“He thinks that’s probably where [the number ten] I operate best,” he revealed.

“Even when I play on the left, I still have the freedom to play in central areas. It was nice to be in there, the actual midfield players of Australia were really hard working and really stuck to their task and it made it difficult to find the spaces.

“That’s what is going to happen, we’re England and we win matches, when teams come to Wembley that’s motivation for them, even in a friendly. They were very highly motivated today and their fans were brilliant. 

James Maddison looks to make something happen from midfield
James Maddison looks to make something happen from midfield
“The spaces were hard to come by but it’s about moments in the game and we managed to have one more big moment than them and Ollie stuck it away, so we’ll take the win.

“Australia are a really good team. Gareth and Steve [Holland] said we can’t underestimate them because they are a very good team, they showed that in Qatar.

“It was tough, they were hard working and honest, had a really good team spirit and they made it difficult for us, but you still have to come through and win the game and we managed to do that.

“When you start winning games you get that hunger to find a way to win and you’ve heard players who have been in England squad in the past saying maybe they would have lost that game.

“It’s important to keep that mentality that when you’re not at your best, you don’t lose, it’s infectious.”