First Team 1 month ago

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 1 month ago

Cleverley: “He's One Of My Best Mates In Football”

By Kevin Affleck

Tom Cleverley feels the Hornets have signed a “top player” in Danny Welbeck after the club secured a deal to sign the England international.

Cleverley bounded straight in from training this morning and immediately headed into the back office to welcome his former Manchester United teammate and great friend to the club.

The pair came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford and Cleverley is delighted they are now reunited at Vicarage Road.

“First and foremost we are signing a great player who brings bags and bags of experience and quality to our squad,” said Cleverley. “Secondly, he is one of my best mates in football and it will be great to have another familiar face around here.”

Technical Director Filippo Giraldi welcomes Danny Welbeck to the club

Welbeck, 28, arrives with a rich pedigree. He has 42 England caps and 16 goals; over 200 Premier League appearances for Manchester United, Arsenal and Sunderland and has scored 36 goals in the top-flight of English football.

“He’s a top player,” said Cleverley. “We have not played together for four or five years but we are getting a top player. He works hard for the team, he can finish, he’s got great athletic ability and links the play up very well. We are getting a complete striker and we are lucky to have him.”

Cleverley said he played a small part in luring Welbeck to the club and gave the Golden Boys a glowing recommendation.

“I’ve been in contact with him,” he said. “I won’t take credit for it obviously but I let him know how good the club is, how ambitious we are and what it’s like. We started playing together when we were 14 or 15 so we’ve known each other half our lives. I am two years older than him but he was that good that he played up a couple of age groups.”

Welbeck has been out of action since October with an ankle problem but Cleverley feels the forward can put a bit of rotten luck behind him and be a real asset to Javi Gracia.

“If you look at some of his injuries, they have been twists or breaks so you can’t say he’s injury prone – he’s just been very unlucky,” said the midfield.

“He’s a hard worker, he’ll get himself in the best possible shape and I have no doubts he’ll stay injury free. He’s really going to fit in here. It’s not just me – every one of his teammates will say he’s a real good lad to have around, so I can’t wait for him to get started.”