First Team 17/05/2019

Deeney: “Let’s Try And Make History”

Once the three-minute bell has sounded around the Wembley changing rooms and the final instructions have been relayed, there’ll be the briefest of opportunities for a closing remark from the captain. One final nugget to rally the troops.

So what words of wisdom will Troy Deeney choose to impart on his teammates, if selected, as they gather by the door to the tunnel ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester City?

Simple.

“Enjoy it, you’ve earnt it. Something along those lines,” he revealed to the gathered media this week.

“It’s been 35 years since the last time Watford were in a final and we’ve never won a cup, so it’s a massive achievement to get there. We’re on the cusp of doing something unbelievable, something that’s never been done in this club’s history.

“So you’ve got to enjoy it, but you’ve also got to know that there’s a seriousness to it as well, so let’s go out and try and make history.”

With 90,000 supporters packed under the Wembley arch – including 80 of Deeney’s family and friends – not to mention a global audience of millions, the club captain accepts this will be the biggest game of his career to date.

“Yes, I think it will,” he said. “It’s the biggest occasion and naturally it’s a monumental game in terms of what it means to English football.

“To possibly be leading the team out in front of all those people, and having my family and friends there, it will be massive to me.”

But has the skipper stopped to imagine, just for one moment, how it would feel to walk those Wembley steps and lift the famous trophy aloft for the first time in Watford’s 138-year history?

“If we win I get to pick up a trophy in front of my mum and I haven’t done that since I was about 12,” he said.

“I’ve won a few individual awards but this is different, this is a team one. It’s alright having individual awards but the team ones are more important than anything and it’s history for this club.

“We’re not naïve, this is a massive test that’s in front of us and probably the hardest one, but if you want to win trophies and get into Europe then you have to play against the best.

“Elton John’s up there [points to photo on training ground wall] and he’s synonymous with this club, but I want my picture up there for years to come as well.”

First Team 17/05/2019

Cathcart: “To Give Them A Win Would Be Unbelievable”

No regrets – that’s the mantra Craig Cathcart will be taking into the FA Cup final, despite treble-chasing Manchester City being the bookies’ favourites at Wembley.

The Northern Ireland international says the Hornets are aware of the size of the task awaiting them, but are approaching the club’s first cup final in 35 years with nothing but confidence in their ability to create history.

“We have to try,” said Cathcart, speaking to the Metro. “It’s going to be a great day. It’s something we have to enjoy, or we’d probably regret it afterwards.

“It’s a massive achievement to get there when you think of the top six teams trying to win every bit of silverware they can.”

Cathcart scored when Watford visited Wembley to play Tottenham in the Premier League this season

If Watford are to spring a surprise they’ll need big-game performances from each and every player, and it’s for that reason Cathcart was particularly pleased to see José Holebas’ final-day red card against West Ham rescinded, meaning the Greek left-back will be available to play his part at Wembley.

“He’s a bit of a character,” joked Cathcart. “He’s the biggest moaner at the club, from the minute he walks through the door. I’m sure everyone would say the same. Mainly because he has high standards of himself.

“He would have been a big miss, for sure, especially from set-pieces. He has been one of our best players this season. I’d have been devastated for him to miss out.”

It’s been quite a season for Javi Gracia’s men, who – despite a below par finish – achieved their best ever Premier League points tally and reached the club’s second FA Cup final. 

Now, with one final fixture remaining, Cathcart is dreaming of a glorious finish to an already record-breaking campaign.

“The last few weeks it has felt like we’ve not been performing to our normal standards, but I think we’d have taken 50 points and an FA Cup final [before the season],” he said.

“It’s not going to happen every year for Watford or for this squad, so it’s something we have to make the most of and I’m sure the fans will enjoy their day. To give them a win would be unbelievable.”