But things get better as our 20-minute chat progresses and Holebas starts to talk fast and loose. He warms to the interview and you warm to him. He even smiled at more than one point (honestly, he did). Yes, he's got a split personality but it's something he readily acknowledges. He doesn't pretend he's something he's not, which is kind of endearing.
"It [my personality] is like two pairs of shoes," says Holebas. "That's what we say in Germany." He tries to put it another way. "I put my glasses on when I leave my house for work." By that he means he puts his game face on, applies his war paint, even for training.
"I'm a normal guy, a really normal guy," he says. "I'm just not showing it. I am a little bit closed."
A little bit? That's like saying he picks up the odd yellow card. Why the act then? Why the need to be so outwardly brusque?
"Sometimes it is better to be closed than to be open to all the people," he says. "It protects you more. I learned it like this, not to let someone in who doesn't know your life." Like his father, perhaps, who we'll come to later.
Holebas isn't one to hang around at the training ground and chew the fat with his teammates over lunch. He's closest to Valon Behrami. "You do your job and you go home," he says "I've got my private life and they have got theirs."
That chimes with Deeney's view of Watford's volatile left-back. "He's a good kid, really," said the captain who is another to call a spade a spade. "He moans a lot but that's just his frustration. He expects a lot, not just from himself but from everyone. He's a good guy and is quite funny when you sit down and speak to him, but people just see him moaning."
Holebas does a nice line in self-deprecation, though. He's well aware of his misgivings.
"I'm always hard on myself but I get really frustrated and get stupid yellow cards because of that," he said. "That should not happen with me as I have experience. But when you are emotional it comes out."
Only two of his ten bookings, which are two more than anyone else in the league, have come in victories, which backs up Holebas' theory that he only loses his rag when things aren't going his or the team's way.
"I want to win games," he says. "I'm not here for a holiday. People see my attitude but when we are losing, and losing really easily, this makes me really mad. I'm showing my emotion on the pitch when I'm frustrated and people then see me in the wrong way.
"I am always like this since I started my career. You can be happy at the end of the season when you have done something good. I am happy when we win but I'm not the guy always showing it as I want to reach something else. I don't want to be near the bottom [of the league]."