December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen high-fives offensive tackle Menelik Watson (71) against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Menelik Watson may have had a bit of a disappointing 2013 season as the team’s second round draft pick as his rookie season never got to full momentum the Manchester born former Florida State Seminole is still one of the most successful football players from England. Something that makes him a popular name for football fans in the UK as a potential star from across the pond as a promising talent for the Raiders.
That means that Watson gets interviews with the national media in England, including the NFL’s carrier in England in Sky Sports who did a recent feature on Watson heading into his second season.
Naturally the feature was based around the Raiders trip to Wembley Stadium this season to play the Miami Dolphins, a storyline that is popular due to the fact that the English born Watson is in line to potentially start for the Raiders in 2014 and could receive plenty of playing time at the most famous stadium in his home country.
Watson says that he is excited for the return to England and to play at such a historic venue.
“Wembley is bigger than I thought it was, said Watson in his interview with Sky Sports about the stadium famous for the FA Cup and English National Team matches. “You hear the stories about it but I can’t imagine what it’s gonna be like when our fans are in here screaming.”
“I’m excited. It’s gonna be a good one,” Watson continued. “I got a lot of family and friends coming to the game so everyone’s excited about seeing me play live so it should be a fun one.”
Watson also compared the Oakland Raiders to the EPL club he supports, Manchester City. A club that has experienced recent success after years of down times in the shadow of the famous Manchester United. Watson hopes that he can give the diehard Raider Nation the same high he has experienced following City’s two recent EPL titles sooner rather than later.
“Oh man, I’m telling you, all the City fans know back in Manchester all the years of [struggles as a franchise] it’s similar to what’s been going on with the Raiders, we went through our struggles, the real fans like me stuck with it and now we’re winning championships and it feels good.”
Watson, who was an ambassador at media day for the London games hasn’t talked much to any media yet in his NFL career and told the media that has silence has been part of a goal to remain focused on trying to improve as a player.
“Last year I was just trying to win a job and I haven’t been doing much talking this off-season, just trying to work on getting back into the grind of when I was at junior college and when I was at Florida State because I feel like the best opportunity to show people what you can do is when you just work and don’t talk.”
The future is still looking good for Watson despite his injuries in 2013. He should become a starter if healthy and with a beefed up Raiders offensive line thanks to free agency and the drafting of the equally as promising Gabe Jackson, should be a key part of the best Raiders offensive line since Dennis Allen took over as head coach. That should help increase Watson’s popularity in Manchester, maybe not to the levels of his favorite EPL club’s players, but with some success in Oakland you never know how big Watson’s name could get in England should he become a successful regular. First things first, Watson will need to be healthy and productive this season. If so, we might be able to expect big things from the team’s 2013 second rounder in a year where Watson has extra motivation in aiming for a starting spot for his personal trip to Wembley with the Raiders.