It’s a credit to Ollie Watkins’ self-confidence that he did not let his head drop after blazing a penalty over the bar in Brentford’s clash with Leeds United on Saturday evening.
Instead, the red-hot winger simply composed himself and continued where he left off – terrorising the visitors’ defence with his electric pace, direct running and ability to shoot from all angles.
Watkins didn’t get his name on the scoresheet but it was he who inspired Brentford to a 3-1 win over Thomas Christiansen’s crumbling Leeds.
Overall, last season’s EFL Young Player of the Year has been a revelation since swapping Exeter City for Brentford in the summer – scoring six Championship goals as he takes to the second tier like a duck to water.
And his stunning form must have Derby County wondering why they did not refuse to take no for an answer during the summer. The Sun (page 63, May 14th) reported that The Rams were willing to pay £3 million for Watkins.
And once Tom Ince had sealed his move to Huddersfield Town, Derby should have ramped up their interest. Instead, just two weeks later, the 21-year-old Watkins put pen to paper with Brentford.
Though it will surely have dawned on Derby that Watkins would have been the ideal replacement for the talismanic Ince. After all, there are few players outside the Premier League who combine that rapid pace with intelligent decision making and an eye for goal from out wide.
You could argue that Watkins is about as close to Ince as you can possibly get. And while Derby will be content with their current league position of seventh, they are somewhat lacking that flair and unpredictability that Ince brought to the table.
Though they could have forgotten all about their former number 11 had Watkins arrived to replace him at Pride Park.