Thursday 21 February 2019

Dylan is just Watt Bohs need

Bohemians v Cork City, tonight, Dalymount Park (KO 7.45)

Bohemians' Dylan Watts keeps possession alongside Derry City's Aaron McEneff. Photo: Sportsfile
Bohemians' Dylan Watts keeps possession alongside Derry City's Aaron McEneff. Photo: Sportsfile

Right now, confidence is coursing through his veins as Bohemians midfielder Dylan Watts is making a name as one of the exciting young talents in the league.

It's not so long ago that his head was down, as was his confidence, the Dubliner unsure where he was going in his career.

He was a Premier League player in name, with Leicester City, but was not really part of the scene with the Foxes, in reality as far away from the first team as when he joined the club from UCD in 2016.

But a loan move to Bohemians has sparked the 22-year-old into life, the TV viewers who caught sight of Watts with his superb display in last week's win over Shamrock Rovers, will be offered more exposure tonight, as the Eir Sport cameras will cover tonight's game at home to Cork City.

"Cork away was my first start and I have had three starts in a row now so I am enjoying it," says Watts of his run in the Bohs side.

"Cork tonight should be good, the champions at our place and it's live on TV.

Hard week

"It was a hard week for us, having to go to Derry on Monday, we played well and I got our goal but we lost, still it's good exposure to get our games on the TV."

Getting games at this level has helped Watts get the bite back in his game after some tough times.

"When I first came back I wasn't settled. It took me a while to get used to being back home, and my head wasn't right, it took me a few weeks to get my head sorted," says Watts, who joined Bohs from Leicester on a six-month loan deal at the start of the season.

"I didn't want to come home, to be honest. I was used to living in my own place so it was a change to be back at home, it took me a good while to get settled and I knew my head wasn't right, I wasn't very good for the first few weeks.

"Even adjusting to things at home was tough, the hardest was getting used to training in the evenings when over in England you train in the mornings. At first when I came home I was only waking up at 12 or so and I didn't know what to do with my day but I got into a routine, I get up early, go to the gym most days and then train with Bohs in the evenings, and we have a lot of matches at the moment with midweek games."

It wasn't an easy introduction to Premier Division football for Watts as his first four league appearances were all defeats, but he impressed in a 0-0 draw with Limerick and then stole the show with his display in the win over Rovers, those factors making him glad he made the move home.

"I had times when I was a bit sick of football but I never fell out of love with the game. Some people who go away to England end up losing their love for it and they drop out of football, but it's what I want to do. I was injured a lot of the time and things weren't going right for me but I'm happy now," he says.

"This is proper men's football and it's great. You are playing in the U23s over there but there's no one at the games, no atmosphere, no edge to the matches. It's completely different to play in a derby away to Rovers with so much at stake."

Leicester, then Premier League champions, snapped up Watts from UCD in 2016 and the outlook was bright.

"It all happened really quickly and I didn't really have time to think about it, for the first two weeks I trained with the first team, Claudio Ranieri was still there, and that was a great experience," Watts says.

"My first week there was pre-season and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do as I wasn't used to full-time training, the other lads would be asking me to go bowling after training and I wouldn't go, my legs were gone from training so hard.

"The first year there was great, I was playing for the U23s every week but the second season was a lot harder, I had a few injuries and it didn't go my way, it was very frustrating."

So Bohs and Leicester agreed on a loan deal until the summer, Watts unsure of his next move. "I am out of contract in the summer, Leicester have an option to offer me another year but I don't know what will happen.So I can't say what the future holds, I will just take it game by game and see where I am at the end of the loan but I am enjoying my time at Bohs," he added.

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