One of UCD’s brightest footballing youngsters Dylan Watts has secured a transfer move to English Premier League champions Leicester City.
The move, rumoured to have been in the works over the last week, only came to fruition on transfer deadline day yesterday. Watts has signed with Leicester for an undisclosed fee.
The nineteen-year old has played a key part in UCD’s fight to win promotion back into the premier division of the League of Ireland. The bright midfielder has been on the radar as one to watch since he played a crucial part in UCD AFC’s Europa League effort last year. Watts was named man on the match in UCD’s historic 1-0 win over F91 Dudelange in Belfield last year, which saw the college side progress into the second round of Europa League qualifiers.
Speaking on his transfer to Leicester City Dylan said he is “really looking forward to the challenges ahead. It is a big opportunity for me, and it is brilliant to be joining the Premier League champions.”
The student put his success down to the enthusiastic coaching unit in UCD, that has bred a string of fine footballers in recent years. “I’d like to thank Collie, Pat and Evan for giving me my opportunity in the first team and I owe a lot to them for believing in me at such a young age. Also to the players and all the staff around UCD who were fantastic during my time there.”
Watts has made twenty appearances for UCD AFC this year, and has also been a regular starter for the Irish under-19s side. A statement from the Belfield club said “moving to the current Premier League Champions offers a fantastic opportunity for Dylan, and everyone at UCD AFC would like to wish him the very best for the future and would like to thank him for his service to the club.”
Collie O’Neill the manager of the UCD AFC first team also added his own personal best wishes to Dylan for the future. “Dylan is one of the best players I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, technically very good with good quick feet. He’s made great strides in the last 2 years from not being a regular in our U19’s to being one of the first names I put on the teamsheet for the first team”.
O’Neill continued to say that if Dylan “continues to make the same progression, then there’s no reason why he can’t eventually make his premiership debut.”
While Watts moves on the the Premier League, UCD will continue their fight for promotion in the League of Ireland. They currently sit third in the table, and will face off against local rivals Cabinteely tomorrow.
The Tribune will bring you a full match report of that game in our first print issue.
Jack Power | Editor