Irish publication Back Page Football has tipped former West Ham United and current Derby County ace Louie Watson to become one of Ireland’s next breakout stars.
The talented attacking midfielder used to be on the books of West Ham.
But despite seeking a professional contract with the club, the Hammers were instead happy to move Watson on as Derby later signed him for their U23s in October 2020.
Watson has impressed for Derby’s thriving academy and now trains with the first-team.
The 19-year-old has gone on to make four Championship appearances, with Rams boss Wayne Rooney dubbing him his side’s best player in the 1-0 defeat at Coventry City.
“For the second game in a row, I thought Louie Watson came on and was our best player. Once again, he’s brave, taking the ball and doing what we’re asking. He’s switching the play. In the first half, we didn’t switch the play at all, and he’s brave enough to look for the forward pass. I think he has shown he can do it at this level. Not just in terms of getting on the ball, he’s one of the only players I can hear talking on the pitch,” Rooney told RamsTV.
Watson missed out on an appearance against Barnsley, but he is certainly knocking on the door for a first-team start and will likely make his full debut before the season end.
Back Page Football have been monitoring his progress as a future Republic of Ireland international, and they tip him to follow in the footsteps of Derby teammate Jason Knight.
Fellow midfielder Knight became a full Ireland international earlier this season.
Watson, meanwhile, was born in London but holds duel citizenship while having already impressed for Ireland’s U18s and speaking of his pride to represent the Boys in Green.
The Hammers are said to be looking to build for the future under current boss David Moyes, therefore it comes as a surprise to see how they were happy to let Watson move on.