Ollie Watkins and England players react to 'the best feeling ever'

Anyone else still absolutely buzzing that our boy Ollie Watkins has fired England into a major tournament final?! Watkins and many others have taken to social media to express their delight at England's victory over the Netherlands.
Netherlands v England: Semi-Final - UEFA EURO 2024
Netherlands v England: Semi-Final - UEFA EURO 2024 / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

The England squad have taken to social media to speak of their pride that England have qualified for the Euro 2024 final. The man of the moment Ollie Watkins described his late goal as 'the best feeling ever' and his teammates, pundits, former pro's and the nation have come out in their numbers to praise the Aston Villa striker.

""I said to Cole we're going to come on and you're going to set me up. I knew as soon as he got the ball he was going to play me in. When it went in the bottom corner, it was the best feeling ever""

Ollie Watkins

In his post-match press conference Watkins said he has felt very frustrated at being utilised so little and went on to say 'I don't like sitting on the bench and I've just had my best season so far'. Watkins later went on to say:

""I've been waiting for that moment for weeks. It's taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am today. I got the opportunity and took it with both hands""

Ollie Watkins

Watkins' late cameo meant he was awarded the UEFA Player of the Match and the award was the least that the former Exeter City player deserved. With Harry Kane not performing at the heights of previous years, England fans have been calling for Gareth Southgate to make a change. Watkins has waited patiently for his chance. Watkins did feature in the group stage when he replaced Kane late on against Denmark and was a bright spark in an otherwise poor team performance. Since then, his opportunities have been limited but last night's game was screaming out for a player like Watkins.

It was clear for all to see how much space there was in behind the Netherlands defence when the likes of Phil Foden and Kobbie Mainoo were driving the ball forward through midfield, but England didn't have a forward willing to run in behind to stretch the Dutch defence. The second half was a frustrating watch and for England fans it seemed to be turning into another 'what could have been' evenings. Thankfully, and we have to praise him, Southgate changed the game by bringing on Watkins and Palmer with ten minutes to go. Yes, the changes may have come later than most would have liked but in the end those changes won the game for his team.

In the hours that followed the full-time whistle England players and fans couldn't hide their excitement at reaching another European final. It is now back-to-back European Championships final for England and the nation now hopes England can go one step further than 2020, where we of course lost to Italy on penalties.

Before the tournament there was not many that expected Ollie Watkins to make an impact for England and many even claimed that he was going to miss out on selection altogther despite a fantastic season for Villa. Paul Merson, former Villa and Arsenal legend, said he would pick Ivan Toney over Ollie Watkins just because Toney is renowned for being good at penalties. Thankfully, England took both and both have made a significant impact when called upon.

It is highly likely that Harry Kane will start in Sunday's final against Spain which is completely understandable due to Kane being England's all-time leading goal scorer and captain. However, what last night proved was that Southgate can trust the players he has waiting on the bench to make an impact when needed. England fans should also feel a greater sense of belief that this team can match a wonderful Spanish side following what they saw last night. England were terrific and free-flowing in attack in the first half and the game swung England's way with the introduction of impact subs. There is much to be excited about ahead of Sunday's game but it will certainly be a case of England's toughest test coming at the final hurdle.