Austria Diary: Day Five
By Kevin Affleck
All the talk was of The Open when the players reported for day five of their training camp in Austria.
Keen golfer Tom Cleverley was talking up the chances of Bryson DeChambeau; Daniel Bachmann said he was up at 7am to catch the first tee shot while Troy Deeney was watching Rory McIlroy’s horror start unfold on his phone. Deeney was just pleased to be up and about as he has spent the last two days in his room after being laid low by a bug. He reckoned he has lost 4kg as a result so he just took things lightly on his return, turning the wheels over slowly on the bike and going round the pitch for a slow jog with a member of the strength and conditioning team. He’ll be right as rain in a couple of days.
He’ll want to be chipper as Wladimir Klitschko is apparently checking into the team hotel on Friday and he’ll surely want a chat with him given his love of boxing. The list of stars who have stayed at this hotel is a bit of a celebrity who’s who, ranging from Jason Statham, to Gywneth Paltrow, to Muhammad Ali to Hilary Clinton.
It’s not all glitz and glamour, though. Cleverley, Craig Cathcart, Andre Gray, Adrian Mariappa and Will Hughes jumped in a taxi the previous day to sample a bit of Austrian culture at nearby town Kitzbuhuel, the home of the most famous downhill ski race in the world.
Daryl Janmaat joked before last night’s game about whether Newcastle or Ajax fans dislike him the most and he was asking how many Ajax fans might be in attendance, but the ex-Feyenoord man had nothing to worry about. He was warmly embraced pre-match by national teammate Donny van de Beek, the Dutch media wanted interview after interview with him while there was a warm reception for him from the decent Ajax support who wanted selfies and autographs.
The only disappointment for Janmaat was the result, the same 2-1 scoreline he was ironically on the receiving end of when he last played against Ajax for Feyenoord in March 2014. His side took the lead that day too only to see Ajax fight back with two goals.
The Austrian PA announcer at the game caused a bit of amusement among the pocket of Watford fans who made the trip. He went for a trip down memory lane by referring to Iron Bolton and then reeled off the Watford match day squad, including Cucho Hernandez, Joäo Pedro and randomly Obbi Oularé.