First Team 2 weeks ago

Highlights: Watford 1-2 Wolverhampton

See extended highlights of the Hornets' loss against Wolves.


 

First Team 3 weeks ago

Gray: “It Feels Like The Fans Are Really Behind Me Now”

Andre Gray says the backing of Watford fans is behind his improved fortune in front of goal this season.

The former Brentford and Burnley forward was at his instinctive best to half-volley the ball into the back of the net in the 49th minute of Saturday’s frustrating defeat to Wolves, taking him to nine for the campaign.

That strike looked set to be yet another crucial goal at The Vic – following Gray’s run of three successive winners on home turf against Everton, Leicester City and Crystal Palace - before Diogo Jota broke Hornets hearts with a late winner.

But Gray is relishing the buzz of playing in front of the Hornets’ faithful home and away and says their backing has been pivotal in improving his form.

 “It definitely feels like they’re really behind me now, which helps me as a player quite a lot,” said Gray. “I’ve scored some important goals this season and that has really helped.

“Knowing the fans are on your side gives you that edge at times and it’s good to feel so much more welcome. You’re more relaxed about things, less anxious when you’re playing, and that obviously then gives you more confidence.

“I started the season well and scored three goals in something like the first six games, so it was a good start and I think that always helps any striker with confidence.

“I’ve just knuckled down and got on with things. I’ve been honest with myself every day.

“I know how far I’ve come – five years ago I was still coming through non-league – so I don’t like to moan about things.

“I try to put a lot of pressure on myself to keep improving so that I can contribute to the team, and thankfully I’ve been able to chip in with a few more goals this season.”

 

His outpouring of emotion when he scored against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday was more than just your regular goal celebration.

The forward, who was born in Wolverhampton and played for Wolves before being released by the club as a 13-year-old, has taken the long road to the top biut, now there, has no intention of resting on his laurels.

Gray has gone on to become a player closing in on 100 Premier League appearances under his belt. If he wasn’t ready then, he certainly is now, having worked his way back up the leagues.

“Being released and having to fight my way back through non-league taught me a lot – I don’t think I’d be the same person or player if it wasn’t for that,” explained the 27-year-old.

“I just think I wasn’t really ready at that time. There were players there who were better than me and that’s just how it was. I certainly don’t have any regrets about it.

“People like me have had to come out of Academy football and I might not have got to where I’ve got to without going through non-league.”


Andre Gray’s interview originally appeared in The Hornet – the Watford FC matchday programme.