International call-ups

A host of Hornets have been chosen to represent their national sides over the next week. 

Christian Kabasele makes Roberto Martinez’s first Belgium squad for a friendly against Spain on Thursday (Sep 1), and the Red Devils’ opening World Cup Qualifier in Cyprus next Tuesday (Sep 6). 

Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon’s Romania take on Montenegro (Sep 4), while Austria and Sebastian Prödl travel to Georgia (Sep 5).

Defender Jose Holebas is with Greece for a friendly with the Netherlands (Sep 1) and a qualifier at Gibralter (Sep 6).

Holebas will come up against teammate Daryl Janmaat who has received a late call-up for Danny Blind's Netherlands squad for the Greece friendly, as well as a qualifier against Sweden (Sep 6). 

Switzerland’s Valon Behrami faces an opener against European Champions Portugal (Sep 6).

Adlène Guedioura returns to the Algeria squad for their African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Lesotho on Thursday (Sep 6), while elsewhere in AFCON qualifying, Odion Ighalo is set to play for Nigeria at home to Tanzania (Sep 3).

Fellow Hornet Nordin Amrabat will turn out for Morocco for a friendly in Albania and a qualifier at home to Sao Tome and Principe. 

Wing-back Juan Carlos Paredes will hope for some much needed minutes as Ecuador kick-off their CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying campaign against Brazil (Sep 1) and Peru (Sep 6). 

Look out for updates on their progress here at watfordfc.com over the next seven days. 

First Team 29/08/2016

Okaka | “The Club Has Fantastic Potential”

Stefano Okaka was all smiles yesterday at UCL as he signed a five-year deal with the Hornets.

The Italian international listed a number of reasons why the move excites him so much as he spoke exclusively to watfordfc.com having finalised a transfer from Anderlecht. 

“It's very exciting,” he beamed. 

“I'm very happy to work with the Pozzo family and Walter Mazzarri, and I'm happy to be back in the Premier League, it's nice. 

“I know Watford is a family club, this is the first feeling I had when I arrived at the training ground. Everything is simple, I like that.

“I've never worked with him [Walter Mazzarri} and I'm excited, he's a fantastic trainer and he can help me to be better. I am excited to play with this team and this manager.”

His experience of the Premier League came with Fulham back in the 2010/11 season, and the striker says he’s a more mature footballer than when he turned out at Craven Cottage. 

“I was very young when I was at Fulham,” he explained. 

“I came to England then with just my talent. Now I come to England with talent and with my head. A lot changes in six years. 

“Now I want to play, to enjoy, to help my teammates to win for this club. My job is to score and play well for the team. I work hard every day in my career, so I'll work hard now and then we will see.”

A chance conversation with an old Hornets favourite and one of Okaka’s ex-teammates meant the former Roma man was in no doubt as to what sort of club he was joining. 

“I spoke with Marco Cassetti not now, but two years ago.” He nodded.  

“He said to me Watford is a very good club, it is always getting better. The club has fantastic potential, hopefully now we can do better than last year.”