Ben Watson is unlikely to be mentioned in the same breath as Sergio Busquets and Didier Deschamps on too many occasions.

He has, however, been likened to two World Cup winners.

The 34-year-old has also been placed into the same category as former Nottingham Forest captain John McGovern.

Two men who conquered the world and one who went to Europe and won the cup twice.

Not bad company!

Reds legend Garry Birtles has been eager to point out that he is not comparing ability when it comes to those who have filled a similar role to Watson.

He is, however, keen to talk up the value of having a proven performer filling an important post.


Image Credit: Nottingham Forest

Birtles has said in the Nottingham Post: “The way [Sabri] Lamouchi has set Forest up all season, but especially away, means you need someone to anchor a team, particularly if you’re going to play on the counter.

“Ben Watson is the man who has filled that role. He’s dropped in alongside the centre-halves, who have then split off.

“It’s smart tactics, but he does more than that. Obviously you can’t compare Ben Watson with a Sergio Busquets, or a Didier Deschamps.

“He has a role to play though. Without Busquets, Andres Iniesta might not have been so successful at Barcelona.

“Deschamps let Zinedine Zidane flourish for France. They both had tactical discipline and that is what Watson has.

“Of course, the best example for Forest in that role is John McGovern. Fans didn’t really appreciate John and don’t always appreciate Ben these days.

“Everyone wants to see flair and attacking play, but workmanlike midfielders are appreciated by their teammates, believe me.”



An archetypal ‘water carrier’ is vital to any side.

Some of those mentioned above prove that point.

Watson has taken to trying to provide similar value at the City Ground.

It is fair to say that his efforts have not been universally heralded.

For some, an alternative would be preferable.

Watson has been around long enough to know that you cannot please everyone all of the time.


Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

And his stock has risen in the eyes of plenty.

Lamouchi has named him in all six of the Championship starting XIs he has named this season.

He has finished four of those games and taken in 500 minutes of action in total.

If he was holding the Reds back, then a tweak would have been made by now.

There may be one to come, with Watson’s spell on Trentside one of peaks and troughs – in favour one minute and out of it the next.

He is not Busquets or Deschamps and there will always be somebody ready to take his place.

For now, though, his value is being recognised as another from the McGovern mould.

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