Reflections on Watmore
I covered Sunderland for six years before going to The Gazette this summer so I saw a lot of Watmore and spoke to him many times too.
One thing is for sure, at Watmore Boro would be said to be a player who in character terms is both positive on and off the pitch.
Watmore was released by Sunderland this year after struggling to get back to the squad after suffering two serious knee injuries that cost him nearly three years of his career.
Before the injuries, Watmore was one of England’s brightest young talents – a regular in England’s Under-21s of Gareth Southgate as well as of Sam Allardyce’s Premier League side Sunderland.
But since recovering from the two ACL knee injuries, it cannot be ignored that Watmore has struggled – with minor injuries and struggling to find a form close to the one he was producing pre-. injuries. The regular niggly injuries didn’t help form as he struggled to get a series of games.
Sunderland releasing him was largely because of it, but he was also one of the club’s highest earners given that his contract was that of the PL era at the club and his salary was a salary they did not just couldn’t afford to postpone – especially since he hadn’t started a game since December when Phil Parkinson had moved into a squad he rarely changed after the New Year.
It was always thought that Watmore needed a new challenge and his character means that wherever he goes they can be guaranteed to sign a good committed guy.
But his physical form is of concern and he is known for his struggles with the end product.
Boro could really do with an extra top option and Watmore has the versatility to play as a striker or as a wide striker – although they can ideally do that with a big strong striker, while Watmore is more of a pacy, off-the-last-defender’s shoulder.
Beggars cannot choose however and if he can prove his suitability at trial he would arrive desperately to impress and prove himself.
The new challenge and the confidence he would likely get from Neil Warnock could be perfect for Watmore to come close to the player he was before the first ACL injury.