IN PROFILE: Dave Watson

By SFC Media Tue 01 Jul Club

The lowdown on Saints’ Senior Goalkeeping Coach, who has arrived from Norwich City.

The Barnsley-born 40 year-old is a highly-rated coach who has worked in the Premier League for a number of years, and was also part of the England set up at both the European Championships in 2012 and this summer’s World Cup finals.

Playing career

Watson spent his entire playing career with Barnsley and also represented England U21s five times before he was forced to retire with a knee injury at the age of 28.

He played 178 times in total for the Tykes after coming through the youth ranks at Oakwell. The undoubted highlight from that spell was playing regularly in the Barnsley team that won automatic promotion to the Premier League in 1997.

Prior to that Watson also represented England in the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship, where they finished in third place and won the FIFA fair play award.

He was Barnsley’s first choice stopper there during the team’s one year stay in the top-flight, with the Tykes relegated in 19th place, five points away from safety.

Watson played in both matches against Saints for Danny Wilson’s men during the 1997/98 campaign. Dave Jones’ Saints took a 4-1 win at The Dell, but Watson and his Tykes teammates secured revenge with a 4-3 success at Oakwell later on in the season.

Midway through the 1998/99 campaign, Watson suffered the knee injury that would prematurely end his career in a match against Norwich City, although he didn’t officially retire until 2001, after two years of trying to regain his fitness.

Coaching career

Following his retirement from playing, Watson immediately worked his way up the coaching ladder, starting out at Northampton Town, Oldham Athletic, and Nottingham Forest.

He enhanced his growing reputation with a call up to the England coaching staff at Under-19s level during 2005 at a time when Martin Hunter was Technical Director at the FA.

Three years later, Watson moved to then Premier League side Birmingham City. At St Andrew’s he was credited with the development of England goalkeepers Jack Butland, Ben Foster and Joe Hart, all of whom had spells with the Blues during his time there.

This prompted Roy Hodgson to invite him to work with the England senior keepers at Euro 2012. Later that year, he teamed up again with former Birmingham boss Chris Hughton, this time at Norwich City.

At Norwich, he worked with another England stopper in John Ruddy, whom he coached during the Canaries’ stint in the Premier League. Despite being unable to avoid the drop last season, Ruddy kept four clean sheets in nine games as he began to recapture his best form after recovering from a serious injury.

After the end of a disappointing season at club level, Watson was reunited with Hart and Foster in England’s preparations for the World Cup in Brazil as a key member of Roy Hodgson’s coaching staff.

Following the early return back to England, Watson joined Southampton after a deal was reached with Norwich to secure his services in a new look coaching set up at St Mary’s.

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