First Team 1 month ago

João Pedro: “It’s A Dream For Me”

By Kevin Affleck

João Pedro has described his move to Watford as “a dream” after he touched down in England this week to launch his Premier League career.

The 18-year-old arrived at Heathrow at lunchtime on Wednesday and was at the training ground yesterday to meet his new teammates and undergo the routine medical testing that all new signings go through. He signed a five-year-contract with the Hornets, which kicks in on January 1, but is not available to play until the Tranmere FA Cup game because of Premier League registration requirements.

“I feel motivated,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play in the Premier League and now that I’m here I just have to make it happen. I’ve been resting [after the end of the season in Brazil] so now it’s a case of getting back into training as soon as possible at Watford.”

The São Paulo-born striker arrived with his family and will be leaning heavily on Heurelho Gomes as he bids to settle into life in Hertfordshire as quickly as possible.

“Having Gomes here will be important to me because of the language,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier and obviously he can help me adapt to it all. I definitely need to go shopping because it’s cold here. It’s really hot in Brazil so I need to buy stuff that’ll help me adapt to this cold. It’s only the second time I’ve travelled outside Brazil and the first time I left Brazil was to play a game and then go back. This time it’s a new city and a new, fantastic experience for me, a dream for me.”

Head Coach Nigel Pearson is excited about being able to call on the services of a player with obvious potential, but wants expectations to be managed in the acclimatisation period.

“Hopefully he will have a positive impact,” said Pearson. “Hopefully it will be a positive one. It’s important for him to settle in and it’s important we don’t heap too much pressure on a player of such young years. We know he is keen to get started and I’m sure he’ll get a warm welcome and get support from number of players and the club. Let’s concentrate on the first-team squad who need to go out and find results in the meantime. We are pleased to have him here and it’s important we don’t heap too much pressure on a young player.”

First Team 1 month ago

Match Pack: Watford v Man Utd

As the Hornets prepare to host Manchester United at Vicarage Road in the Premier League, here is all you need to know about the fixture...


INFO

  • Watford v Manchester United
  • Premier League
  • Vicarage Road Stadium
  • Sunday December 22, 2pm GMT

HOW TO FOLLOW

  • Live commentary of the match will be available at watfordfc.com.
  • This match will be televised on Sky Sports.
  • Find live coverage and behind-the-scenes content on our social channels!

OFFICIALS

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: Scott Ledger, Simon Long
Fourth official: Graham Scott
VAR: Martin Atkinson
Additional VAR: Stephen Child


TEAM NEWS

The Hornets have had Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra return to training, and both may be involved against Man Utd. Nigel Pearson said long-term injuries such as Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Sebastian Prödl and Daryl Janmaat are progressing well, while João Pedro will begin to undergo medical tests after arriving from Brazil.

The Reds have had Paul Pogba step up his recovery according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but the manager suggested the midfielder is not yet ready to start. Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah are in similar situations. Diogo Dalot will first play for the Under-23s and will then be ready for first team football, said the manager, who also spoke about the need for rotating his squad over the festive period.


OPPOSITION FORM

The Red Devils sit in sixth place in the Premier League after an inconsistent first half of the season. Wins against Chelsea, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have been sullied by defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Newcastle United and Bournemouth. Marcus Rashford has been the star of the show so far this campaign, with 14 goals in all competitions.


HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:

Won 5, Drawn 5, Lost 22

Last Six:

Mar 2019: Man Utd 2-1 Watford (Doucouré) (Premier League)
Sep 2018: Watford 1-2 Man Utd (Gray) (Premier League)
May 2018: Man Utd 1-0 Watford (Premier League)
Nov 2017: Watford 2-4 Man Utd (Deeney pen, Doucouré) (Premier League)
Feb 2017: Man Utd 2-0 Watford (Premier League)
Sep 2016: Watford 3-1 Man Utd (Capoue, Zuñiga, Deeney pen) (Premier League)


GOLDEN FLASHBACK

May 13, 1985 – Watford 5-1 Manchester United: Two days after a dramatic 5-1 away win at Tottenham Hotspur, the Hornets hosted Manchester United and once again dispatched their opposition by the same scoreline. Nigel Callaghan scored twice while Luther Blissett, Kenny Jackett and Colin West also netted. The result, however, was tainted somewhat as Blissett was stretchered off with a fractured skull.


PLAYED FOR BOTH

Tomasz Kuszczak

Poland international goalkeeper Kuszczak first arrived in England in 2004, joining West Bromwich Albion from Hertha Berlin, before making the move to Old Trafford in 2006. After competing with Ben Foster for the number two goalkeeper spot while at Manchester United, Kuszczak eventually left on loan, joining Watford for the second half of the 2011/12 season.

Chris Eagles

Eagles began his youth career with Watford in 1998 before transferring to Manchester United in 2000. He made his debut for the Red Devils in 2003 but later returned to Watford twice on short-term loan spells – firstly in January 2005 and then in January 2006. Eagles scored once during his first loan spell and three times during his second, and the latter spell also included a promotion to the Premier League.

Ashley Young

A Hornets Academy graduate, Young scored and created goals from the wing during his time at Vicarage Road, helping the club earn promotion to the Premier League – alongside Eagles – in 2006. Halfway through the Premier League season Young joined Aston Villa, before eventually moving to Old Trafford in 2011. Young has appeared many times for the England international team, and is still deployed as a full-back for the Red Devils.


WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Nigel Pearson on Hornets’ form:

“We’ve had a good couple of weeks training and I have to say the application in training has been excellent, really, really excellent. We know we are in a very difficult situation, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest the players are not up for the challenge.

“The statistics don’t paint a false picture. We know we are in a very difficult situation and we’ve got to start winning points. That’s the bottom line. While it’s mathematically possible, it allows you to keep working in the most positive way.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on his midfield:

“Nemanja [Matic]'s back and Paul [Pogba]'s coming back so of course we're not as light as we were say a month ago. When we started the season I was happy with the midfield I had.

“We know we've got one of the best players in the world [in Pogba], when he's playing well, when he gets fit. He needs time to get fit of course but he'll make a difference for us.”