His name might not resonate just yet, but Joey’s coach Trevor Morgan claims Southampton-based midfielder Caleb Watts could soon be racing through the national team ranks.
Freshly signed to a three-year professional contract by the Saints, the “exciting talent” is aiming to graduate with honours from the same academy program which produced the likes of Gareth Bale, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana.
Eligible to play for both Australia and England, Watts made his Australia U-17s debut during an invitational tournament in Turkey last March, and is already earmarked as a starter by Morgan at November’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in November.
But that might just be the start for the box-to-box buccaneer, with Morgan seeing the Olyroos and Socceroos as achievable milestones as his fledging career unfolds.
“He’s the type of player I want in my team,” said Morgan. “He’s got a bit of everything - he’s a good ball winner, he’s good on the ball and also gets forward.
“He also works hard off the ball, has the capacity to defend but also get in the box and score goals.
“He’s an exciting talent and that’s why Southampton are very happy with him and have signed him to a three-year pro deal and have got him training with the U-23s (whilst playing with the U18s).”
Watts was recently part of the Southampton U-23 team which took on Guangzhou Evergrande, and Morgan believes he could be fast-tracked into Olyroos and ultimately Socceroos calculations should he excel in Brazil.
“He’s really keen to get experience and possibly chase the opportunity of playing for Australia at senior level also,” added Morgan.
“He’s certainly one that if he has a good performance at the World Cup and considering the level he’s training at, could be among a shortlist of players I’ll be recommending to Arnie (Graham Arnold) as one he might want to look at regarding the Olympic squad.
“It’s also the opportunity to join Gary van Egmond with the Young Socceroos.”
The son of a London-based doctor, Watts was snapped up by Saints from the Queens Park Rangers academy and was visited recently in Southampton by Morgan, whose Joeys will take on England in a mini-tournament next month at St George’s Park.
“I would imagine that with a player like him, they will have intentions to give him opportunities in what is a long and winding road.
“That doesn’t mean you’ll always take them and will make the first team but they’ve made an investment in him and are looking to see his he responds.
“Only time will tell the answer to that one. Being at EPL level the number of people he needs to bear to progress is large.
“But we look forward to it (the journey). The feedback from the club is that he does everything right on and off the field, In terms of his education and his conditioning as well as the football.
“Southampton is a fantastic place for him and they have the best interests of the boy at heart.”