First Team 15/04/2019

Gracia: “I Would Like Gomes To Stay”

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia believes the relationship between Ben Foster and Heurelho Gomes is reflective of the spirit throughout the dressing room and is a big part of what is driving the team to new heights, and has said that he would like Gomes to stay beyond the end of this season.

Foster has said he would insist that Gomes plays in the final if, for some reason, the Head Coach decides to go against what he has done in previous rounds and play the summer signing from West Bromwich Albion in goal. Gomes, meanwhile, feels Foster is the best keeper in England and could have no complaints if Gracia went with the ‘keeper who has played in every Premier League game this season in the final on May 18. 

“You could see this not only in Heurelho and Ben, but all the keepers,” said Gracia. “When the game is finished, you could see the good relationship between all the players.

“It’s something that helps us to play the way we are. I am sure if we didn’t have this atmosphere in the team, in that game, when we are losing 2-0, we wouldn’t be able to score or to achieve the score we achieved. It’s because we have good players, but they have a very good relationship as well.”

You saw that by the way Gomes hurtled onto the pitch at full-time at Brighton to hoist Foster aloft after arguably the individual performance of the season. Foster did the same to Gomes at Loftus Road in the fifth round of the cup and then again at Wembley on Sunday.

“It's about the group, the team,” said Gomes. “I will not knock on the manager’s door to play in the final. If he needs me I will be there, if not we are well served by Ben Foster.”

Gomes has made no secret of the fact that he is all but certain to bring down the curtain on a 17-year career at the end of the season, but Gracia, ever the optimist, has not given up hope of convincing the Brazilian to play on for one more season.

“We spoke about that,” said the Head Coach. “Heurelho said he was close to retirement but I would like to speak with him before finishing the season and to know what he wants to do. After speaking with the club, I would like to see the best option for everybody. In my opinion, Heurelho is an amazing keeper and I would like to stay with him more time.”

Gracia has also revealed that his three sons were bouncing after the FA Cup semi-final win over Wolverhampton Wanderers and that the family home is reverberating to the sounds of Watford songs.

The Head Coach’s three sons, Jon (13) and 10-year-old twins Inigo and Mikel, were at Wembley on Sunday and Gracia said they would do The 1881 Movement proud with their rendition of all the songs about their father, the player and the club.
“The boys are so happy,” he said. “They are singing all the songs and driving me crazy in a good way. All the songs are now always in my head.”

First Team 15/04/2019

Programme: Semi-Final Special Edition Tonight

If, like tens of thousands more, you're still re-playing every key moment from the epic Wembley win over Wolves, then tonight's Watford v Arsenal match programme is not one to be missed!

There's a massive 16-page section dedicated to the Hornets' dramatic FA Cup semi-final, including a host of photos captured on the day plus analysis and reaction from players, pundits and fans alike.

A must for every Watford supporter's collection!

Also featured:

  • In-depth interview with Christian Kabasele, who discusses his childhood love for tonight's opponents Arsenal as well as his take on football's fight against racism
  • 16-page kids' pullout including quizzes, games, Junior Hornets birthdays and a giant José Holebas poster
  • Darren Bazeley on his part in the 1998/99 promotion campaign, and his controversial decision to leave for Wolves at the end of the season

Plus lots more - available at Vicarage Road this evening.