(Reuters) – Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins said it was a bit of a shock to be on the same training pitch as Harry Kane but hopes to learn from the England captain after earning his maiden call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Watkins, who has long been an admirer of the Tottenham Hotspur hitman, has been rewarded for an impressive Premier League campaign in which he has scored 10 goals in 28 matches and could make his international debut in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino.
“I was speaking to the strength and conditioning coach here about three and a half years ago when I was at Brentford,” the 25-year-old said.
“I was asking him about what Harry Kane’s routine is and a few years later, I am here training with him. It is a bit of a shock but enjoyable as well.”
Watkins hopes to stake a claim for a regular England spot but acknowledged it would be difficult to dislodge Kane, who has scored 32 goals in 51 games for England.
“I couldn’t speak more highly of him,” Watkins said. “Everyone knows what he’s capable of and there’s a lot of other talented English strikers as well.
“It’s always going to be hard to play for England, let alone take a position, but I’m just trying to be the best player I can be.”
An Arsenal fan growing up, Watkins said he had modelled his game after one of the club’s greatest players, Thierry Henry.
“Henry I think is probably the best striker to ever play in the Premier League,” he said. “He’s definitely someone I look up to, supporting Arsenal from young. But I feel like I’m a long way away from being like Thierry.”
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru;Editing by Peter Rutherford)