Queens Park Rangers finally signed Ben Watson today (Tuesday) on Transfer Deadline Day – here Vital QPR profiles the young midfielder.
Name: Ben Watson
Date of Birth: 09-07-1985 (London)
Former Clubs: Crystal Palace, Wigan Athletic.
Appearances (Goals): 179 (20)
Watson came up through the ranks at Crystal Palace and made his debut for the Eagles late in the 2002-03 season in the 1-0 home defeat to Watford.
Four further games that season for young Watson included victories over Grimsby Town (4-1) and Stoke City (1-0), but a disappointing draw against Rotherham United (0-0) and a derby defeat against Millwall (3-2) saw Palace finish 14th.
Watson managed 21 games in the 2003-04 season which was ultimately successful for Crystal Palace. Under the guidance of Iain Dowie the Eagles achieved promotion via the playoffs and Watson`s goal against bitter rivals Millwall helped them on their way.
24 games ensued in the Premier League for the midfielder who impressed in what was to be brief stint in the top-flight, as Palace were relegated on a frenetic final day.
Back into the Championship and Watson played a staggering 48 games for the Eagles, scoring four goals as they once again embarked on a playoff journey. This time they were thwarted by the eventually promoted Watford – led by Adrian Boothroyd. During that season he played in both victories over Queens Park Rangers.
Watson made 26 appearances in the 2006-07 season where Crystal Palace finished a disappointing 12th under the guidance of new boss Peter Taylor. He was voted the club`s Young Player of The Year 2007.
After a poor start to the 2007-08 campaign Taylor was sacked and replaced by Neil Warnock, the former Sheffield United boss reviving the Palace fortunes and taking them to the playoffs. Watson played 46 times scoring seven goals, but missed a crucial penalty in their playoff semi-final defeat against Bristol City.
Neil Warnock had to fend off interest from several clubs for Watson including Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest with the player reportedly keen on a move to West London to rejoin Iain Dowie.
Despite refusing to sign a contract and not initially being given a squad number, Watson played 18 games including a fixture against QPR. The Rangers supporters chanting: Watson is a Ranger didn`t sit well with the Selhurst Park support.
He did move to Wigan Athletic in the January transfer window in a £2,000,000 deal. He made an instant impact with some excellent displays and two well-taken goals against Sunderland and Hull City.
With Steve Bruce departing for Sunderland and falling out of favour with new boss Roberto Martinez, Watson penned a loan deal with Queens Park Rangers on Transfer Deadline Day – September 1, 2009.
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