Sarll: “We Hope He Has A Speedy Recovery”
By Kevin Affleck
Watford's Head of Academy Darren Sarll hopes Yassine En-Neyah, the young Nottingham Forest midfielder, makes a full and speedy recovery after he was badly injured in the Professional Development League clash on Friday night.
En-Neyah, 18, left the field of play on a stretcher and was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
“We send our best wishes and we hope he has a speedy recovery,” said Sarll. “We want the game to be played in a very fair, aggressive manner, but it looks like it's a bad one so we send our deepest sympathies to him. I really feel for the player.”
The injury in stoppage time, which resulted from a challenge that earned Tom Leighton a straight red card, overshadowed Forest's 2-1 win.
However there was a promising debut for the Hornets' youngster Sonny Blu Lo Everton. The 16-year-old winger came off the bench with 18 minutes remaining and he did not look out of place at this level. He is another example of the club's conscious decision to push their best young players through the age groups and get them playing outside their comfort zone, just like they did with Ryan Cassidy last season.
“A real positive was bringing Sonny Blu on," said Sarll. “He's been a wonderful player since I came to the club. He's impressed me greatly, he's got good character, is very humble and has a lovely balance. He's just a good player and good players cope with whatever is thrown at them. He's got a really great future.”
At the other end of the spectrum is Michael Folivi, who has been playing at this level for a while now. He now has three goals in as many games this season, but Sarll wants more from his leading striker.
“Michael still has too many passages where he's not in the game,” said Sarll. “He must improve that if he's going to go and shine for someone's first team.”
There were real similarities between the Under-23s' performance on Friday night at Alfreton Town and what we have seen from the first team this season, particularly when it comes to defending so aggressively from the front. There appears to be plenty of joined-up thinking going on on the fields of the training ground at London Colney as Gracia's style and philosophy filters down.
“We are trying to play the game with speed and with an increased tempo,” Sarll said. “We are trying to pass the ball aggressively and press high from the front, like the manager is doing with the first team. I thought the two goals were indicative of where we are. There was a lack of concentration for both, particularly for the second one where you need to be strong, be like men and doing your job. That's a key moment in the game and goals like that at the professional level decide people's futures.”