Ben Watson was at it again on Saturday, with the Nottingham Forest captain registering his third Championship goal of the season.

Unheard of numbers for the veteran midfielder!

Not since 2011-12, when on the books at Wigan, has the 34-year-old been so productive in the final third.

You have to turn the block back even further to 2008-09 and his days at Crystal Palace to find the last time Watson managed more than three league efforts in a single campaign.

We are very much in nosebleed territory here.

Watson, though, continues to pop up in the right place, at the right time.

For the most part, said position is just in front of the back four.

His bread and butter is sweeping up any loose balls and crunching into tackles.

A standup job he has done there this season.

Shackles

(Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Every so often, though, the shackles are shaken.

Against Barnsley back in September, many must have been questioning their eyesight when witnessing Watson arrive as the first man to meet a Matty Cash cut back.

His other efforts have come from corner routines.

His presence in and around the area at set-pieces is slightly more understandable.

Especially when taking into account the confidence with which he crashed home against Reading on Saturday.

With his left foot, no less.

The kind of effort that Joe Lolley would have been proud of!

There was, of course, an even later sting in the tail at the Madejski Stadium.

Watson had, however, shown once again how valuable he can be.

A remarkable reversal in fortune has been enjoyed by a divisive figure this season.

Transformation

 

The transformation from outcast to irreplaceable has been stunning.

His goal return is merely another welcome contribution that few could have predicted.

Having never previously netted for the Reds, to have three by mid-January this term is both baffling and brilliant.

As things stand, Watson is proving to be as productive, or even more prolific, than many of those whose job it is to find the back of the net.

For example, Derby frontman Jack Marriott has only two league goals to his name this season, as does Fraizer Campbell at Huddersfield, while Blackburn striker Danny Graham and Sam Vokes, who cost Stoke a reported £7 million, have mustered only three apiece.

Watson is enjoying a renaissance at the best possible time.

His strike against Reading was his first away from home since April 2016.

Said effort was the last he had managed of any kind prior to hitting the target against the Tykes on September 21, 2019.

There may still be the odd question asked of him, and an expiring contract casting doubt over his long-term future, but to demand any more of Watson this season really would be expecting the impossible.

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