Watford have confirmed the signing of 18-year-old defender, Ben Wilmot from Stevenage FC. The League Two outfit is expected to have banked £1m on the deal as they released a statement on Twitter, marking it to be at the top of their history books.
The youngster is about to team up with Javi Gracia’s side in the Premier League, a massive jump in his playing career. After all, the player has earned rave reviews during his time at Hertfordshire and has been pegged to be a future star in the top-division of English football.
The chairman of the club, Phil Wallace said he was ‘a defender that will play at the highest level’ in his programme notes. Manager Darren Sarll also said that Wilmot reminded him of the Swansea City player Alfie Mawson, who he brought into Brentford when he was youth team manager. The head coach was quoted, “He didn’t look 18, did he? He’s got a reading of the game, and an intelligence. I was very lucky at Brentford that I recruited a young man called Alfie Mawson, who’d been released from Reading.”
“They have a very similar compatibility between them as players and people. Both have got a fantastic desire. Alfie has gone on to play at the very top and for his country (at Under-21 level). Listen, regardless of whether Ben plays for his country or not, I think he’ll play at the very top.”
Wilmot has caught on to senior team football quite well as evident from the 15 appearances last season. The switch will not only further his development as a player, playing in the English top-flight will also earn him more call-ups to the national team’s youth sides.
What remains to be seen is how far will Wilmot go with this Watford team. There always are rising talents in the lower divisions who manage to catch the eyes of scouts every now and then, but in very few cases manage to break into the first teams.
Wilmot could turn out to be a steal signing for Watford but only if he is given the fair chance to showcase his talents. Currently, Gracia has six first-team potential players who play in the same position as Wilmot – Sebastian Prodl, Christian Kabasele, Tommy Hoban, Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Adrian Mariappa and Molla Wague.
At the moment, Wilmot’s chances of featuring for the Hornets starting lineup is slim to none. Either Gracia will have to offload a few names by the end of the summer window or the teenager might just manage games for the clubs youth sides only. It remains to be seen how the player fares with the challenges of top-flight football and whether he does enough to feature in the first team for the Hornets.