First Team 17/05/2019

Doucouré: “We Have To Take Our Moment”

Abdoulaye Doucouré knows all about taking opportunities as they come – and wants Watford to take theirs in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

The Frenchman grew up as the second-youngest of eight children in the French commune of Meulen-en-Yvelines, to the north-west of Paris, before football took over as he joined Rennes’ academy in 2007.

It meant patience became a virtue when it came to dinner times or the chance to have a go on the family PlayStation.

But that upbringing has shaped the strong mindset Doucouré now possesses, a mindset that aided him overcoming a slow start to his Watford career when joining the Hornets in 2016 and helped him become a key cog in Javi Gracia’s engine room.

It will serve him well when Watford face newly-crowned Premier League champions City on Saturday.

“The main quality I have is my mentality because I never gave up - I never, ever give up,” said Doucouré.

“I am a strong man, I am always looking forward and this is my main thing.

“I have been like that since I was young. I knew I had to take my chance when it came. Nobody gives you anything. You have to go and take it, and this was the way I think.

“There was a lot of noise at home. There were so many of us. When you wanted to play a game or have something to eat, you had to wait your turn but also be ready to take it.

“So against Man City we also have to be patient. And we also have to take our moment.

“This FA Cup final is something amazing. It means a lot – at Wembley, the supporters, the achievement. But we will give everything. Everywhere you look, everyone is so excited. And I want to win this.”

 

Doucouré, alongside Player of the Season Étienne Capoue have shone in the middle for the Golden Boys in a season where Watford have recorded their highest-ever Premier League points tally.

But the Frenchman knows they will need to be at their imperious best to thwart City’s plethora of international stars. Naturally, he is up for the challenge.

“It shows we are doing things right at the heart of the team,” Doucouré added. 

“David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, [İlkay] Gündoğan – top, top quality players in the world. They are so good 

“Against that we are maybe a ‘small’ opponent but it means that a lot of people will be behind us.

“It’s a final, it’s one game, so, yes, let’s do it.”

First Team 17/05/2019

Watch: Rags To Riches

#ImagineIf a kid caught up in the gang culture on the streets of Wolverhampton could reach the FA Cup final.

Andre Gray has walked a path few have taken before him. Growing up looking over his shoulder, watching out for cars he didn’t recognise, to the life-changing moment he was stabbed in the face, the Watford striker has persevered through adversity.

Now he is two days away from walking about in front of 10s of thousands of Hornets fans at the national stadium to try and help Watford land a first trophy in their history.

Watch the video below as Gray takes back to the streets he grew up on and tell his story of how he escaped the wrong crowd to achieve his dreams of reaching the Premier League.

From overcoming the frustration of his release from hometown club Wolverhampton Wanderers to becoming one of the most lethal strikers in non-league, before finally reaching the very top, Gray charts the highs and lows of his life in an exclusive chat with Kevin Affleck.