It’s the November 19, you’ve been in England since the summer and you’ve yet to break into the first team. It is finally you’re first team debut - time to show the fans what you’re all about. Twenty seconds in and you’re down on the floor with a broken nose. This is the start to life Marvin Zeegelaar had in a Watford shirt.
The left-back was met with the full force of West Ham striker Andy Carrol’s elbow and was down receiving treatment for several minutes before rocking the tissue-paper-up-the-nose look for the rest of the game.
“It was a bit of a shock, the first seconds to get a broken nose, but I took it well. We continued the game and it was a good game too, we won.” Zeegelaar admitted.
Following on from his debut, the Dutchman has made three consecutive starts for the Golden Boys, adapting perfectly to English football. With a Man of the Match display at St James’ Park, including two assists, it hasn’t been the worst of starts since he picked himself up off the floor against West Ham, and Zeegelaar admitted there has been just one or two things that he has had to adapt to in England.
“I think the weather, that was a big one and the driving too actually.” He laughed.
“I think it’s the same though, it’s a fast game of course. They play fast and physically in England. It’s not too different to what I’ve seen on TV.”
It’s been a fantastic season so far for Watford, who sit eighth the Premier League table and have picked up important points against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. The question in the media has been whether the Hornets can push for the European places come the end of the season.
When questioned on the whether the sky is indeed the limit for this Watford side the former Sporting Lisbon man was not ruling anything out.
“I think it is, why not, if you see what Leicester City did. I think we can do everything we want as a team and reach as high as possible.” Zeegelaar said.
To achieve this ambition, the Hornets will need to beat the teams around them and that starts this weekend with a trip to Turf Moor to face seventh placed Burnley. The Clarets have been defying the odds all season and Sean Dyche’s side have been notoriously difficult to play against, conceding just three times at home all season.
Watford head to Lancashire with an impressive away record, scoring at least two goals in each fixture on the road and picking up wins at Bournemouth, Southampton, Swansea and Newcastle. It promises to be an intriguing contest and Zeegelaar is ready for the battle that lies ahead.
“I think it’s going to be a difficult game, I think every game in the Premier League is difficult but I think especially this game because they’re a tough side and have only conceded three goals at home. It will be difficult but we know we are scoring as well in away games so we will see.”
The game against Burnley is the start of what promises to be a busy schedule for the Golden Boys with eight games in the next four weeks over the festive period and Zeegelaar let us in on his number one Christmas gift.
“The best Christmas gift would be to win all the games of course. As a player you always look forward to playing football.”