Under-23's 22/08/2019

Under-23: Hinds Joins Hornets

The Hornets have added Kaylen Hinds to their Under-23 squad after the forward signed a one-year contract with the option of an extra year.

Watford already feels like home for the ex-Wolfsburg 21-year-old, who was brought through the ranks just over the fence at Arsenal’s Academy and was recently recognised at London Colney by fellow ex-Gooner Danny Welbeck.

“He was shocked when he saw me,” said Hinds. “He said ‘what are you doing here, you’re supposed to be in Germany’. I told him I’m here now and he said we’d catch up.

“I wouldn’t say I know him well, but we know each other because I trained with the Arsenal first team a couple of times, so we’ve crossed paths.”

Hinds recently made the move back to Hertfordshire after a spell with Wolfsburg. The forward followed his old Academy coach Andries Jonker to the German club in 2017 but found it difficult to settle in the environment.

“It was a very good start, but it just didn’t work out in the end,” he said. “So, I came back to England to start my career off again. You’re away from your family and friends, you’re not doing the normal things you would do back at home.

“I feel much more comfortable here. I feel like I’ll be happy again and this will be a chance to show what I can do. It’s weird as sometimes when I come to training, I’ll see some of the boys from Arsenal on the motorway or something. I know this area well and it feels like home already.”

Hinds was snapped up by Arsenal from Leyton Orient’s Academy as a 14-year-old in 2012, before being part of the England youth setup from the Under-16s until the Under-20s.

Academy Manager Richard Thomas knows Hinds well, as he worked with the forward when he was at Leyton Orient.

“He's got a strong background,” said Thomas. “I remember being part of the staff that sold to him Arsenal from Orient a long time ago and since then he's represented England and might have even captained England. He then went out to Wolfsburg for a couple of million euros, I believe, so he's got good pedigree and I know he has good character.

“He'll be good for us, so it's a great move for the club and himself. He's been at a good level and there is no reason why he can't work his way into the group above us.”

Although he’s followed Welbeck’s path from Arsenal to Watford via England’s youth teams, Hinds said he wouldn’t liken himself to the striker and sees himself as ‘more of an Andre Gray’.

Hinds has been at Watford as a trialist since the beginning of pre-season and the goals have already been flowing in the Under-23s. He scored a cracker in the team’s 5-0 win against Hull City and a dramatic late winner in the 2-1 victory at Sheffield United.

“It felt good,” he said. “I’ve been out of football for 15 months and now I’m back. It feels good scoring again. Hopefully the ‘trialist’ can change to my actual name now. From now until Christmas my main goal is to get my confidence back and start playing to the best of my ability. Then after Christmas to push into the first team or go out on loan.”

First Team 22/08/2019

Gracia: “We Need Workers To Fight”

By Kevin Affleck

The Watford Head Coach has challenged his players to turn in a home performance as payback to the fans and also step up collectively to replace the leadership void created by the injury to Troy Deeney.

Javi Gracia was cut deeply by the opening day defeat to Brighton and shared the pain felt by the supporters. He has been itching for a chance to get back to Vicarage Road and show what this team are really made of. 

“The supporters deserve something else,” he said. “We have to do it. We have to keep calm, keep playing with the intensity we need and everybody knows we want the three points. We want the supporters to enjoy it with the team and in this moment I'm sure the supporters will be helping the team. It's the moment to see the reaction and to try to get points.”

The need for a hero, for a leader, for that 12th man became pressing this week after the news Deeney is to miss several weeks following knee surgery. Étienne Capoue is an obvious candidate to captain the side, but Gracia is not fussed about who wears the armband. He wants a wider leadership group and everyone to stand up and be counted.

“We have many captains and if Troy isn't in the team, we have others,” he said. “Three or four players have experience, like Mariappa, like Capoue, Foster and Gomes. Always there are players with experience and they will try to show the rest of the team how to do many things. But we don't need many bosses now: we need workers. We need workers, workers, workers to fight and to play.

“In every game we need to show our desire, our passion and this way we have chances to win the games. If we don't do it every game, it will be very, very tough for us because all the teams have very good players. The first thing we have to do is try to be very concentrated and try to show our real level.”

Gracia saw enough at Goodison Park to show him that the Brighton game was a one-off, that his side are back on track and that a positive result is just around the corner.

“We need to be focused on that: playing well, having a good performance and I'm sure if we try to play the way we can, the result is coming,” he said. “I am sure of that. In the last game, we had a good performance. It's true it wasn't enough and we need to improve many things but there were positives as well.

“We improved many things compared with the first game. We competed well but we didn't take our chances. They scored one goal and they got the points. We showed a better attitude, a better commitment and this is the right way for us. After that defeat we have to improve things and playing at home is the best place and best moment to try to get the points in play. We don't want to wait more time.”