Ollie Watkins taking inspiration from Michael Jordan in Brentford promotion charge

Malik Ouzia
·2-min read
Getty Images
Getty Images

Brentford star Ollie Watkins says he is embracing his leading role in the club’s promotion push after watching hit Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance.

Watkins has scored 24 goals for the Bees this season, placing him level with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic at the top of the Championship’s scoring charts, but his importance to Thomas Frank’s side stretches beyond his lethal finishing.

Despite being only 24 himself, Watkins is among the more experienced members of Frank’s squad - particularly with regards to time spent in English football - having made his professional debut for Exeter City in 2014.

“I definitely feel like on the pitch I’ve got a leadership role,” Watkins said.

“I watched the Michael Jordan documentary and it made me hungry, it made me want to get the best out of everyone so we can try and achieve something special.

Watkins celebrates his goal in the crucial win over West Brom last month (PA)
Watkins celebrates his goal in the crucial win over West Brom last month (PA)

“[It showed that] all leaders are not going to be nicey, nicey all the time, you’ve got to get fired up and it’s only because they want to win, they’re not saying it personally because they want to hurt you or damage you.

“Maybe [previously] I was just a little bit too shy, thinking that if I spoke up people would say ‘No, no, no’ and overlook me. I’ve felt like I’m only saying things to help and people are taking it [on board] so I feel like it’s helping.”

Watkins is also one of the only members of the current squad to have experienced a play-off campaign, having lost in the League 2 final with Exeter in 2017.

Brentford still have ambitions of going up automatically, having moved within three points of second-place after a run of seven straight wins.

But should they have to do it the hard way, Watkins is determined to use the memory of that defeat to ensure a different outcome this time around.

“If we got to the playoff final, from minute-one to minute-95, or extra time, I wouldn’t stop running,” he added.

“[In 2017] I came off the pitch feeling, first, sad because we’d lost, but secondly, that I hadn’t worked hard enough and done enough for the team. So, if we got there I’d definitely do all I could.”

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