First Team 22/07/2016

KABASELE: “I’m Excited & I’m Ready”

CHRISTIAN KABASELE says he knows all about the challenges that await him during his first season in the Premier League.

The Hornets’ new defender – who signed from Genk in a five-year deal earlier this month – also revealed he contacted some of his England-based Belgium international teammates once his switch to Vicarage Road was complete. 

“I spoke with Eden Hazard, with Mousa Dembélé, with Christian Benteke, and they all said it [Premier League football] is difficult,” said Kabasele, speaking to watfordfc.com

“Benteke said to me ‘don’t give me a lot of kicks during the games because I know where you live!’ 

“I am expecting the rhythm and the level to be very high. It’s going to be difficult but I have to work hard for this.” 

Like many a player arriving in the Premier League, it’s long been an ambition of Kabasele’s to ply his trade at this level. 

The 25-year-old is looking forward to what will be a testing opening run of fixtures in 2016/17, with the Southampton opener followed by matches against Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester United. 

“I’m excited because it was a dream for me to play in the Premier League, and I’m ready to do all the work to make this happen,” he said. 

“I am looking forward to the first game, and the games after Southampton are also big games so if I play it’ll be a good beginning.” 

Asked to describe his main attributes, the central defender said: “I have good speed and I’m strong in the challenge. Also with the head I scored some goals last year with Genk. 

“I will also try to improve all my weak points to be a complete player and to help the team have a good season.” 

First Team 20/07/2016

Rowan | “I Don’t Want This Experience To Stop”

Pre-season couldn’t have started much better for defender and first-year professional Charlie Rowan. 

The Hornets' former Under-18 captain - who signed his first professional contract during the close season - has been training regularly with the first-team and made his maiden appearance in the Golden Boys’ first pre-season friendly against Woking. 

Included in Walter Mazzarri’s travelling squad for the week-long training camp in Austria, Rowan also featured for nearly 20 minutes of yesterday evening's 3-1 win over Union Berlin, and the centre-back admits he's enjoying every minute.

“So far it’s been great, and I’m happy that the manager has faith in me to put me on,” Rowan told watfordfc.com.

“When I came on yesterday, I had [Craig] Cathcart talking in my ear telling me where to go, and I just need to take on their advice. 

“Even in training they're talking me through certain things such as my body position, when to play and when not to play, so I’m learning off the best."

The 18-year-old has had the likes of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo to keep tabs on during early sessions so far, which he admits can only stand him in good stead going forward.

“I’m learning every day from the likes of Troy and Odion. You see the different movements they make," said Rowan.

“It can only make me better, playing against the best. I want to get up to their level and I’m trying my best against them. So far I’ve done well and so hopefully it continues."

Rowan has also been impressed by what he's learnt from working with Mazzarri, stating: "He’s a proper Italian coach. He knows what he wants from his players and he’s very tactical, which can only make me better. 

“I don’t want this experience to stop, I’m loving it.”

It's not just Rowan who has made the trip to Austria, fellow first-year pro Brandon Mason is also part of the training camp and Head of Academy Chris McGuane believes the opportunity for both players is very much deserved.

“It’s a great experience for them to be around the first-team, and they deserve it,” McGuane said. 

“They deserve the chance, and it goes to show that the club have got the youth players’ best interests at heart.

"This club wants to see young players progress and develop, and it’s great that Brandon and Charlie have their chance to impress the first-team players and staff.”