First Team 08/08/2019

Gracia: “He's A Very Important Player”

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia is excited about the possibility of working with Danny Welbeck and integrating him into his team.

The Golden Boys pulled off one of the highest profile deals in its history yesterday when they signed the 42-cap England striker who was part of the squad that reached the semi-final of last summer's World Cup.

Nearing 29 and approaching what should be his peak years, Welbeck will add firepower in the Hornets' attack and also gives Gracia another more than useful option in the wide areas.

“He's a very important player, not only for me but everyone in this country,” said the Head Coach. “He's an international player for England, high-quality player and I think he's a very good player for us.

“He's a very good striker or winger; he can play in different positions. He is always attacking, he's a very fast player and is a strong finisher. To have a player of his experience and quality is good for the team.”

Welbeck has the ability to get in behind, possesses the physique to hold the ball up and he is also a potent weapon in the air. Gracia sounded like a man who knew exactly where he was going to use him once his return to action has been mapped out by the medical staff.

“I'm sure he will give us good options,” said Gracia. “He has different skills and he can help the team. We need to check what he needs to be in the best condition and after try to help him be playing as soon as possible and help the team. I'm looking forward to the moment when he can play and help the team.”

Welbeck met Gracia in the Head Coach's office yesterday and the new signing backed up everything Tom Cleverley said about his former Manchester United teammate being a good bloke.

“He is very nice, very warm and it's a pleasure to speak with him,” said Gracia. “I wished him the best with us. I have spoken to other coaches and players and they have very good things to say about him, personally and professionally.”

First Team 07/08/2019

Welbeck: “I Can Really Flourish Here”

Danny Welbeck is looking forward to reuniting with some former Manchester United teammates after agreeing a permanent contract with the Hornets earlier in the week.

The 28-year-old England forward – who arrived at Vicarage Road on a free transfer – is good friends with Tom Cleverley and Craig Cathcart, having risen through the Old Trafford ranks with the pair.

“I know some of the boys already and they can’t speak highly enough of the club,” said Welbeck.

“I used to live in digs with Craig at United and I’ve spoken to Clevz a lot about the club. He said I’d really enjoy it here and thinks it’ll be a great match for me to come here.

“It seems like a great club with the whole surrounding environment. It’s a family-orientated place and that’s something that I value very highly.

“I’ve played against Watford and I like to watch football so I’ve seen them play on TV a lot and I know the team, and I think this is a place where I can really flourish.

“The squad we’ve got here is full of good players and people who I’m really looking forward to playing with and trying to push to that next level.”

With 206 Premier League appearances to his name as well as one league title, one FA Cup and two League Cup medals – not to mention 16 goals in 42 international caps – Welbeck comes with bags of experience.

Injury restricted him to 16 outings for Arsenal and England in 2018/19, but the striker says he’s in good shape and feels he has a point to prove with the Hornets.

“There’s lots more to come. I know that I’ve got so much more to show the Premier League,” he said.

“It’s been frustrating at times but I can’t just dwell on that and let that get me down. I’m focused on now and being better than I ever have been.

“I’m feeling really good and really strong, and I’m looking forward to this challenge ahead.”

Welbeck wasn’t short of takers, having become a free agent following his departure from the Emirates Stadium at the end of last season, but the forward says Vicarage Road felt like the right place to continue his career.

“There’s been longstanding interest from Watford and as I was a free agent this summer I had lots of talks with clubs from England and abroad,” he said.

“But I think this is the perfect place for me to come to, and that’s what I took into consideration whilst talking to various teams.

“I’m really looking forward to showcasing my talents, being back out on the pitch and playing football, doing the thing I love most. 

“I think this is the right place for me to be and I’m looking forward to it.”