Gary Lineker thinks he's been proven right after England beat Netherlands - 'I've been calling'

Gary Lineker England Netherlands

Gary Lineker believes he's been proven right about Ollie Watkins after England's dramatic 2-1 win over the Netherlands on Wednesday night

RESTISFOOTBALL
Jack Otway

By Jack Otway


Published: 11/07/2024

- 08:12

The BBC presenter has opened up after the 2-1 win at Euro 2024 on Wednesday night

Gary Lineker believes he's been proven right about Ollie Watkins after England's dramatic 2-1 win over the Netherlands on Wednesday night.

The Three Lions booked their place in the final of Euro 2024 after goals in either half from Watkins and Harry Kane.


Kane was replaced late in the match, with the Bayern Munich star suffering with a knock.

Watkins, who sparkled for Aston Villa as the club secured Champions League football last term, then made the most of his brief cameo by firing England into the final.

Gary Lineker England Netherlands

Gary Lineker believes he's been proven right about Ollie Watkins after England's dramatic 2-1 win over the Netherlands on Wednesday night

RESTISFOOTBALL

Lineker, reacting to the result on his Rest is Football podcast, has reminded everybody that he's been pushing for Watkins to get more game time.

And the 63-year-old now believes his stance has been justified in the wake of the dramatic result.

“The one thing I know about is how to play up front and how as a striker you can help your team," he said.

"And that’s why I have been calling for Ollie Watkins and saying that you can take your main man off and you could even start with Ollie Watkins.

“He has not probably got the all round finishing ability that Harry Kane has got, although boy what a finish that was, but he gives you different things.

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“You can press dynamically, he can spin in behind, as he did and all of a sudden what happens with a striker who forces defenders to go towards their own goal is that is creates more space behind for those midfield players with all the talent in the world that they have got. Bellingham and Palmer.

“It gives you so much more in terms of overall for the team and it’s the team game and the team that is the most important thing and not individuals and that’s why however difficult it is to say, that is why I kept saying don’t rule out that option because it’s really important.

“I was so pleased for Ollie Watkins because what a season he has had at Aston Villa, so many goal involvements and goals created, he runs himself ragged in every game I see, he gets behind people and he deserved his moment.”

Watkins, certainly, has now proven himself on the biggest stage.

But it's still hard to see the 28-year-old starting in place of Kane, despite his impressive display.

JUST IN: BBC urged to 'get rid' of Gary Lineker after controversial comments in Spain win over France

England were beaten by Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on this day three years ago.

Now, they have the chance to achieve the ultimate redemption.

England have been, for the most part, infuriatingly inconsistent out in Germany.

They appear to be peaking at the right time, however, though Spain will pose their toughest test so far on Sunday night.

Not that England players will be fearful. Jude Bellingham, speaking to ITV, has said England will now immediately set their sights on victory in Sunday's mouthwatering final.

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Ollie Watkins England netherlands

Gary Lineker was happy for Ollie Watkins after England beat the Netherlands to reach the final of Euro 2024

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"We're going to get criticism when we don't play well but it's important that we build that resistance to it and we come together and win these games," he said.

"These moments are great, it brings us together as a team and a family.

"These moments make us more toegther and we take it into the final now.

"Ollie Watkins came on and took his opportunity.

"I'm buzzing for him. You're not starting every game like you would for your club and it's difficult.

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins was mobbed by his England team-mates after his stunning late goal against the Netherlands

PA

"Spain have looked amazing, they've looked really good.

"We'll sit down and understand how they play."

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