Can Exeter City’s Rising Star Follow In The Footsteps Of Ollie Watkins? – Opinion

Exeter City have found yet another star in the form of Sonny Cox, and the youngster has had somewhat of a breakout season in League One.

At just 19 years of age, the sky is well and truly the limit for Cox, who already has plenty of experience at a senior level. In fact, the striker has made 26 appearances for the Grecians this season, 15 of those being starts and he has seen consistent minutes up top since the turn of the New Year.

A loan move to National League South leaders Yeovil Town between October and December worked in Cox’s favour as he obviously learnt a lot during his stay. In the previous season, he would enjoy a spell with fellow National League South side Bath City which also helped put his name on the map.

After being recalled from Yeovil in early December, the striker would be integrated straight into the match-day squad and fairly soon after, was holding down the starting spot at St. James Park.

It would be the 19-year-old’s goal against Wycombe Wanderers on Boxing Day which would end the club’s 13 match winless run. Since then, the squad has dramatically improved and have also moved away from the drop zone as a result. Improvements cannot just be attributed to Cox’s return, however it was his goal which would kickstart the change in fortunes.

The Grecians now sit in 16th in the League One table and are seven points clear of Cheltenham Town in 21st. They are by no means safe just yet, but should only need two or three more wins to guarantee their third tier status.

Although Exeter are without a win in their last five, they’ve came up against three of the top four as well as the form team in the league, Lincoln City, during that spell. Most recently, they would hold title-chasers Bolton Wanderers to a 2-2 draw and looked set for all three points until their opponents scored a late equaliser.

Sonny Cox bagged a quick-fire brace in that game and once again showed his value to the club’s attack. Despite his young age, the striker has already shown that he is capable of leading the line and will no doubt only get better as he continues to develop.

Having scored the second least amount of goals in the third tier this season, it is obvious where Exeter’s weakness’ lie. However they do look to have found a future star in the form of the academy graduate and he’s not the first gem that they have uncovered.

Aston Villa ace Ollie Watkins was also a member of the Grecians’ academy and similarly to Cox, broke through at a young age. In 71 EFL matches for the club, Watkins would rack up a mightily impressive 23 goals and a further 15 assists. Those numbers may dwarf Cox’s current numbers, but the now-England international would stay with the club until he was 21.

There’s no reason why Cox cannot match those numbers that Watkins put up for the club, and there are plenty of similarities between the two already present. Watkins has obviously gone on to have an incredible career since leaving Devon, establishing himself as one of the best finishers in the Championship after joining Brentford from Exeter and then recently, one of the finest in the Premier League with Aston Villa.

He’s probably a player that Cox will look up to as well given his career path. Having signed a new two-year deal with the club last week, the striker has already committed to his future and he’ll continue to develop at St. James Park. He’d have to be incredibly special to match Watkins’ achievements, but there’s nothing stopping him.

With nine games still left in the season the focus will be on the present and ensuring Exeter’s League One status. If Cox is able to add a couple more goals to his tally then teams may really start to make note. He’s certainly one to watch next season and Exeter’s academy seem to have once again produced another great talent.

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