Charlton Athletic’s head coach, Michael Appleton, has provided insight into why Louie Watson didn’t start in their last two matches. Watson, who is on loan from Luton Town, made appearances as a substitute in their recent games. In today’s 2-0 loss to Bolton Wanderers, he came on during the second half, and he played the final 16 minutes in Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat against Lincoln City. The 22-year-old South London native, born in Croydon, has participated in eight League One matches.
During the past two matches, Scott Fraser has been in the starting lineup alongside George Dobson in the deeper midfield positions. Appleton noted that Watson brings valuable attributes as a ball carrier and passer. However, he also pointed out a less obvious aspect of Watson’s development: his ability to handle opposing midfielders running off the back of him, which has posed challenges for the team at times. Appleton expressed his belief in Watson’s potential and emphasized the need for patience in his development, assuring that Watson will have his opportunities at the right time.
Appleton acknowledged the varying perceptions of team performance in response to wins and losses. He emphasized the importance of a long-term view for educational and developmental purposes. He mentioned his experience with such scenarios and indicated his intention to continue guiding Watson’s progress.
Leading up to the Bolton match, Appleton discussed using the January transfer window to strengthen his squad and identified a crucial element for building a promotion-challenging team: time. He recognized that top-performing teams in the division have had consistency in their player groups over time and that achieving this requires courage and patience. In January, he plans to make adjustments to the squad to enhance its balance and adapt its profile.
Appleton highlighted the need for a team comfortable with being on the offensive right from the start of matches and having players, both in the starting eleven and the entire squad, capable of sustaining an attacking approach for the full 90 minutes. While the team showed improvement in the second half of their recent game, he stressed the challenge of maintaining this level of play for the entire match.