Caleb Watts - one of Australia’s brightest next gen talents - has vowed to supercharge his future next season, whether he remains on the books of Southampton or heads elsewhere.
One of a tiny band of Aussies to have tasted Premier League action in recent years, the Southampton midfielder was rubbed out for the remainder of the season when he ripped his hamstring from the bone on debut with Crawley Town in January.
Watts' Football Future
- Former Olyroo Caleb Watts is back on the road to fitness and out to make a name for himself in English football next season.
- The midfielder's progress was hit by a hamstring injury while on loan at Crawley Town in January.
- With three EPL appearances under his belt, the Southampton youngster may go out on loan again in 2022-2022.
More Australian football news can be found on FTBL.
The former Olyroo lasted just 18 minutes before calamity struck in his first loan outing for the League Two club formerly managed by Harry Kewell.
A member of Graham Arnold’s Olympic team at the Tokyo Games, Watts, 20, has made three EPL appearances for the Saints, and was looking to use the Crawley move as a springboard into regular senior football.
The setback now behind him, Watts is back in training on the south coast, and hungry to start delivering on his boundless potential.
“I did my hamstring pretty badly, had the surgery and I’m rehabbing now,” Watts told FTBL.
"It was just a bit of bad luck - I pulled it off the bone. That’s as bad as it gets.
“But I’m looking to be back on the pitch by the end of May … it’ll be 19 weeks all up and I’m just looking forward to next season now.
“At this stage if my career I need to be playing senior football. I’d love that to happen here at Southampton, but it’s a Premier League club and that will be hard.
“If that doesn’t happen I’ll see where the wind takes me and I’ll go somewhere where I’m wanted.
“My main thing is to be playing. That’s why I pushed so hard for a loan - I need to test myself against physically tougher and harder opposition (than playing for Saints’ U-23s).”
Off contract at St Mary’s at the end of next season, Watts made three appearances off the bench at the Olympics and was earmarked by former Joeys coach Trevor Morgan as a top-flight talent in the making when he took him to Brazil for the U-17 World Cup.
“I’ve had a little false start but hopefully next season I can really get up and going," pledged Watts.
“It’s hard to break through at any good club, especially one like Southampton who are pushing for the top ten. It’s never going to be easy.
“If I get my chance I will crack it it. If not then I’ll go somewhere where I can play. Of course I want to stay at Southampton - we’ll see what happens.”
Competing at the Olympics hardened Watts’ resolve to make the next step.
“You could just tell the players who’ve played men’s football, there was a difference,” he added.
“My preference is to remain in England now - I know and like the way the game is played here. There will be opportunities … it’s just up to me to take them.
“I love it here, the crowds and the atmosphere at games. It’s uplifting. I’ve used this time out to work on other things.
"I’ve put on quite a bit of muscle, with core and upper body work, and I’m buzzing for what lies ahead.”
Long touted as a future Socceroo, Watts sees that possibility at the end of the rainbow.
“That would great. I take the view that once you start playing well for your club the rest will take care of itself," he added.
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