Ollie Watkins: I speak to a sport therapist before and after every match

Ollie Watkins – Ollie Watkins: I speak to a sport therapist before and after every match

England striker Ollie Watkins has revealed his stunning form at Aston Villa has come after employing a therapist he speaks with before and after every match, having struggled with belief in himself earlier in his career.

Watkins, 28, started using the “sports performance therapist” just prior to Unai Emery’s appointment at Villa and the results have been spectacular, with the former Brentford forward scoring 19 goals in the Premier League last season and finishing in the Champions League places.

After being called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championship, Watkins will speak to his life coach before each game in Germany and after the final whistle regardless of the result.

“Making sure going into the game, I’ve got everything off my chest,” he said on the High Performance podcast. “I speak to a life coach and since I’ve worked with him he’s definitely helped me.

“The mind is the most powerful thing because they train every day physically in the gym but it takes a lot to change your mindset. I’ve learnt that is it consistency - being consistent every day whether you have a good day or a bad day.

“If I haven’t scored or if I’ve scored three goals I’ll still speak to him. Before a game and after a game I’ll speak to him and debrief and then I can move onto the next game. Since he has come in, he’s helped me a lot.”

Watkins scored 14 goals in his first season under Emery when he took over from Steven Gerrard in Nov 2022. Then last season his tally was 27 in all competitions which has booked his place at the Euros.

He has revealed since the changes in his mental preparation he has been more focused and aggressive with his runs with the ball, while his work off the pitch has changed with his weights in the gym more specific to his body and game.

“I feel it is the best investment I’ve made. Investing into myself and my mindset has made me become a better player,” he said. “Mindset is the most important thing. Your brain can tell you a lot of things and you can have self doubt.

“There may be moments when I have self-doubt in the morning. But just being okay with thoughts, you can trick your brain into believing different things.”