Watford Academy/U23

Discussion in 'The Team Bus' started by wfc78, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    Will you believe me if I told you this 16 year old's first name is Sonny?
    Moose likes this.
  2. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    I guess it was a case of well lads we're down to 10 - best form of defence is attack!
  3. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    ‘New Low’ Everton when they try and pinch him.
  4. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

  5. lowerrous

    lowerrous Squad Player

    Imaad Sankoh, who came on in the second half at central midfield, appears to be a new name.

    Must be this guy who signed as a scholar for Southend only last year and was playing in their U-18s:



    Samuel Sesay, who has been playing for our U-18s lately, also appears to have spent time previously in the 'Mass Elite Academy': https://www.instagram.com/p/BNDc-hsDU5q/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
    oxhey67 likes this.
  6. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    They can’t do it on a wet Wednesday night in Hull. :(
  7. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    Looks like we really struggle at this level.

    This season's results are pretty poor. U23's have drawn 2 and lost 3. No wins. Today they are already losing at home to Ipswich with Chalobah and Dahlberg playing!!
  8. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    They ended up losing 2-0 and today looked very poor both collectively and individually, bar two performances, (not Chalobah or Dahlberg!)
    I'll write up a short report later as I'm as busy as anything right now.

    Just to say though hornetboy1, Watford's philosophy this season is to push each age group up a level so rarely are we playing what could be considered like for like against our opponents. Have a look back at what I've written for the games prior to today for this season and hopefully you'll get an idea of what I'm saying. There are also, I think, a few articles mixed in with what myself and others have written, with explanations of what the club are trying to achieve at this level. The bottom line seems to be player development is key, results not so much. It's not that they're not important, but they're not the be all and end all at age group level.
    EB Hornet likes this.
  9. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    It's good that you watch the U23's. I've done my time in the past watching the reserves and the youth team. Used to cycle to Woodside to see the young kids. I remember seeing Nigel Callaghan, Kenny Jackett, Nigel Gibbs, Malcolm Allen and Jimmy Gilligan all at that level. Bertie Mee and Tom Walley were the coaches in those days. It was the SE Counties league and we used to play all the London clubs.
    oxhey67 likes this.
  10. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    The under-23s played at Vicarage Road today (Monday 17th September) against Ipswich Town, going 2-0 down on a very hot day.
    Andy Scott, Fitz Hall and David Pleat (again) were the obvious faces I saw in the Elton John Stand.

    The inclusion of Chalobah and Dahlberg gave my weary body a lift and I was looking forward to seeing impressive left-back Kieran Holsgrove again, especially as he was down to play further forward in a midfield role.

    The starting XI and subs (age in brackets);

    gk Pontus Dahlberg (19)
    rb Andrew Eleftheriou (capt. - 20), lb Michael Mullings (17), rcb Harry Hudson (17), lcb Ryan Suckling (17);
    rm Harry Forster (18), lm Kieran Holsgrove (18), rcm Nathaniel Chalobah (23), lcm Daniel Phillips (17);
    rf Michael Folivi (20), lf Ryan Cassidy (17);

    subs; Sam Howes (gk - 20), Ben Tricker (17), Dom Hutchinson (16), Dion Pereira (19), A. Trialist (?).

    The first thing I noticed was Watford played in a flat 4-4-2 formation rather than in a diamond, as witnessed in the previous home games. Whether this was to accommodate the inclusion of Nathaniel Chalobah or is an overall switch to the first XI's way of playing remains to be seen. It was also quickly apparent how big, strong and, most of all, quick Ipswich Town appeared. They pressed from the first minute and allowed Watford little time on the ball. This seemed to throw the home side and possession was rarely kept for the first half hour or so. Ipswich really dominated with the ball and often won tackles or held off their counterparts seemingly through strength alone.

    As a team Watford looked rattled. They were stretched across the midfield, the back four exposed through a lack of cover or lack of pace and Folivi & Cassidy were left to challenge two bigger centre backs in the air without any success whenever the ball was cleared forward.

    Because Ipswich pressed quickly all over the pitch, Watford were often guilty of holding onto the ball too long while under pressure. When the ball was passed there was a tendency to pass short where there was little space despite players being free out wide.

    It was no real surprise that Town took the lead nor the way it came about. Dahlberg had the ball at his feet inside the penalty area and because of the high press by Town, the defenders were pushed back to the edge of the box with nobody free. Inexplicably, the WFC 'keeper played a side-foot pass to nobody up the middle of the pitch which was pounced on by a blue shirted player. Good passing and movement led to an easy finish and a 1-0 lead to the away side. But seriously, that pass from Dahlberg was poor.

    Watford looked better as the game went on but never seriously posed a threat until the final quarter where both forwards showed good feet to make half chances for themselves. At the other end, Dahlberg was rarely under threat and he coped with balls into the area well. His handling from several low shots was sound and he was a little unlucky to concede the second. A very good save with his legs from a 1-on-1 situation made the ball balloon upwards and towards the goal. It was headed away but fell to an Ipswich player who finished calmly with Dahlberg having no chance to stop a well placed shot to the bottom right corner.

    I've given individual notes about every player in previous reports but because today was such a struggle for the team, most players would receive similar comments. Out muscled, out fought and out paced. Obviously it didn't happen every time but for the first hour, 70 minutes, it happened often. Nobody played badly overall, Ipswich were just that bit better.

    For Dahlberg it was his handling, very assured. He also communicated clearly throughout. Suckling and Hudson were better today than I'd previously seen them and they dovetailed nicely at times as the aggressor and the covering defender. Harry Hudson also did well in the air for the most part.
    Harry Forster struggled out wide but when he started 10-15 yards inside the touchline it gave him room to work his defender by feinting to go in or outside before going the opposite way with the ball.
    Kieran Holsgrove also struggled to assert himself, particularly after a knock to an ankle in the 1st-half. He took one good free-kick, disguising a cross with a nice near post shot instead which the Ipswich 'keeper completely failed to read. He took another knock and was substituted midway through the 2nd half.
    Michael Folivi looked a little lazy without the ball and the longer the game went on the more he was caught offside. Sometimes it was the delay in passing which led to the flag being raised, other times because he was too early making his run. The really frustrating times though were when he ambled back when an attack had broken down and never got back on side. Once he had the ball at his feet however, he came alive. Sadly, Ryan Cassidy looked off the pace in the main barring a couple of chances at the end of each half of his own making.
    Nathaniel Chalobah looked very rusty. I was hoping he'd take control of the midfield but for the first 45 minutes he almost played at walking pace, rarely tackled effectively though did receive the ball well and move it quickly on at times. The 20 minutes or so he was on in the 2nd half was much better as he snapped into tackles, was more physical when on the ball and looked to expand his passing range. Still, a good 70-odd minutes in his legs won't do him any harm whatsoever when he's needed in the first team.
    Dion Pereira came on in the 2nd half and produced a very good cameo with some neat dribbling and excellent long passing. He wasn't able to effectively influence the game further up field or around the opposition's penalty area but he looked good both wide left and in a more central midfield role when Chalobah went off. Dom Hutchinson did ok as did the trialist in the middle of the park. I've no idea who he was but for a smallish lad he showed good enough strength, decent movement with and without the ball and good positioning.

    I've left any comments about the two most encouraging displays until last - well done if you've made it this far!

    Left back Michael Mullings once again looked good both defensively & offensively. Despite playing against a quicker opponent, his positioning was generally sound so rarely got caught out with balls dropped in behind him. He's a good strong tackler, rarely needs to go to ground and usually made himself available for passes from his centre backs or 'keeper. Going forward he lacks any real finesse but occasionally passed his way round his opponent well. He's raw but for 17 looks promising.

    Similarly, central midfielder Daniel Phillips (17) also possessed good body strength, if not pace, and often came out of tackles still in possession or winning the ball. He has a range of passing though is better when keeping it short and received the ball well under pressure. He showed good positional/game awareness when covering a marauding run forward with the ball by centre back Hudson, dropping back to cover his team mate naturally. He wasn't spectacular and won't win many games on the evidence of this display, but he looks as though he'd be the man to release the flair players and shield the defence well. He reminded me a bit of Gilberto Silva of Arsenal all those years ago in the way he rarely travelled near the touchline or either penalty area, but was a good link with the defence and never strayed too far from Chalobah so was part of an effective axis in midfield.
  11. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    oxhey67 and PowerJugs like this.
  12. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Coaches are stacking up aren't they...
  13. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    Tony Parkes was only appointed at the start of August in the same position. He must have been blown away in the recent strong winds.

    Wait until Merson, Thompson, Lawrenson et al get wind of this news though - 'all that's wrong with football blah blah blah.'
  14. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Well the coaches are English so it's ok..
  15. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    The under-18's drew 3-3 with QPR on Saturday. Good to see Ryan Cassidy on the scoresheet with two after dropping down to his more natural age group.
    Official report here; https://www.watfordfc.com/teams/under-18s/u18-report-watford-3-3-qpr

    Meanwhile, at the DGS Marine Stadium this afternoon the under-23's also drew. This time Charlton Athletic were the opponents but both sides fired blanks to draw 0-0.
    No official report yet but Michael Folivi apparently hit the woodwork late on.

    The team lined up as follows;
    Howes (gk); Eleftheriou (c), Hudson, Suckling, Mullins; Forster, Phillips, Trialist, Holsgrove; Pereira, Folivi.
    subs; Maclean, Baptiste (gk), Sankoh, Hutchinson, Cassidy.

    The under-23's next play on Friday, at home against Crystal Palace.
  16. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Bloke on the Charlton forums says we were the better side in a generally poor game played on a bumpy pitch .

    Sounds like the Under 18s did their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
    oxhey67 likes this.
  17. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    Today I saw the under-23s/development squad for the fourth time this season and I've yet to see them win.
    If you'll be my bodyguard, I can be your long lost pal. I can call you Betty, and Betty, when you call me, you can call me Jonah.

    The game ended 1-1 with Michael Folivi scoring an excellent left-footed curling shot. Hopefully the club will put it up on you tube so I can post it on here.

    There's a definite pattern forming from the four games I've seen so far and which doesn't only apply to Watford.

    Worryingly, there is very little individual flair on show. Dion Pereira is probably the one WFC player with that something special, a touch of panache. The same goes for the players I've seen turn out for Sheffield Utd., Crewe, Ipswich & todays opposition, Crystal Palace.

    Pace is the one thing which has made players stand out and of the sides I've seen, Ipswich had that in abundance. It's no coincidence then that of those four matches I've attended it's Ipswich who've been the only winners. All the sides have been very well organised and you can see the players have been coached very well in their positional partnerships. ie. as in the defensive unit, the midfield link-ups and forward play. But with all the sides, as soon as they approach the opposition penalty area and space becomes limited then it begins to look a bit scrappy and play tends to break down.

    My fear is the players are over coached in team dynamics and, possibly, the more individually gifted aren't seen as a good risk going forward.
    It's just a feeling after a very small sample size of games and I may be way off the mark.
    It'll be interesting as the season progresses to see if players begin to express themselves more because it's easy to forget that a lot of the Watford players I've seen are under 20 years of age. They may be inhibited within themselves at the moment to not try the more risky option for fear of making a mistake or giving the ball away cheaply. Definitely something to keep an eye on anyway.

    As for today, I could easily cut+paste some of the things I've written before for most of the players so here's a very brief summary.

    Sam Howes (gk - 20yrs old) Good organisationally, average handling, fair kicking.
    Andrew Eleftheriou (rb - 20) Captain, vocal, average positionally, average passing, struggled going forward though better 2nd-half.
    Harry Hudson (cb - 17) & Ryan Suckling (cb - 17) Very good partnership, both good in the air, good positionally, looked to pass out.
    Kieran Holsgrove (rm - 18) Struggled to get in the game. Looked better as an attacking left-back in previous matches.
    Dion Pereira (cm - 19) Okay on the ball, average passing, average defensively (balled out by coach in 2nd-half).
    Harry Forster (rm - 18) Good on the ball, average passing, threat going forward.
    Michael Folivi (f - 20) Excellent goal, held onto the ball too long before passing, good runs.
    Ryan Cassidy (f - 17) Poor first touch, struggled in air against giant centre-half, held onto the ball too long before passing.
    sub - Imaad Sankoh (midfield - ??) Energetic, quick passing, got stuck in.
    sub - Jayden Bennetts (midfield - 17) Not on long enough to make an impact.

    None of the above played badly despite me being very critical. It was probably a 6 or 7 out of 10 for the majority of them.

    A special mention for two players today though.
    Michael Mullings (lb - 17) An exceptional 1st-half, good 2nd-half. Rarely beaten in a foot race, good positionally, almost impossible to knock off the ball when defending, calm under pressure, very good passing, very good supporting midfield & attacks.
    Daniel Phillips (cm - 17) Excellent on the ball, excellent tackling, excellent short range passing, very good positionally, good in the air, very good shielding the ball, very good game awareness.

    Both Mullings and Phillips today excelled.

    I've seen Mullings several times and he looks to be gaining in confidence as his touch looked assured and he didn't look rushed when under pressure. He looks a very good defender already and is able to support the forward players in attack. He looks a little clumsy with the ball at his feet but that's only because he sets himself with a wide gait. This in turn means it's nigh on impossible to knock him off the ball. At 17 he looks very very good.

    This was the first 90mins I've seen Phillips play and he looks excellent in the middle of the park. Physically very strong & compact so, like Mullings, it looks impossible to knock him off the ball. His choice of pass was brilliant and his tackling superb. He's not the tallest but competed well in the air while his support of the forwards was good, especially as he was the more defensive of the two centre midfielders. Late on, sub Sankoh got involved in a bit of push & shove and it was Phillips getting straight in there to support his mate. A fair few of the players got involved and it was great to see Phillips take Sankoh to one side, put an arm round him and calm him down. Again, 17 years old and highly impressive.

    Over all it was a scrappy game which got very niggly the longer it went on and there were two or three little off the ball shoves and pushes involving different pairings.
    Cassidy seemed to get very frustrated with his team mates & Palace players in equal measures.
    The ref needs to learn how to tie his boot laces. Twice he was doing them up as the game progressed away from him.
  18. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    Waford U23 losing 2-0 to Millwall having conceded 2 goals in 2 minutes. Britos gave away a penalty and Zeegelaar has been shown a straight red card!!
    Cassetti's Beard likes this.
  19. Cassetti's Beard

    Cassetti's Beard First Team

    Good to see the senior players being a positive influence on the youth
  20. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    As mentioned above, the U-23 Development side played Millwall away this afternoon, losing 0-2.

    Notable inclusions were Miguel Britos & Marvin Zeegelaar and they both made telling contributions.
    Britos gave away the penalty for the first goal before Zeegelaar was shown a straight red after Millwall had gone 2-up.

    Good to see Ashley Charles back in the side, Lewis Gordon too after injury. Michael Folivi started on the bench alongside Joy Mukena, who was back after missing several games.

    Here are the tweeted updates from @WatfordFC.

    • • • • •
    #watfordfc U23 team to face @MillwallFC away this afternoon, 1.30pm KO.
    Howes; Eleftheriou (C), Hudson, Britos, Gordon; Forster, Charles, Phillips, Zeegelaar; Pereira, Cassidy.
    Subs | Mukena, Hoskins (GK), Folivi, Bennetts, Hutchinson.
    • • • • •
    KO Dion Pereira gets the game against @MillwallFC U23 at The Den underway. Key updates to follow as Miguel Britos and Marvin Zeegelaar get a run out. #watfordfc
    • • • • •
    HT @MillwallFC U23 0-0 #watfordfc U23 Ryan Cassidy came closest to opening the scoring with a close-range effort that hit the inside of the post.
    • • • • •
    KO @MillwallFC's Jem Karacan gets this Under-23 Professional Development League fixture at The Den back underway. No changes for #watfordfc after a goalless first half
    • • • • •
    49 GOAL | @MillwallFC U23 1-0 #watfordfc U23. Tom Bradshaw scores from the penalty spot after Miguel Britos fouled Rob Harvey.
    • • • • •
    50 GOAL | @MillwallFC U23 2-0 #watfordfc U23 It's two in as many minutes for Tom Bradshaw who fires low past Sam Howes from just inside the penalty box.
    • • • • •
    Marvin Zeegelaar in action for #watfordfc U23s, who currently trail @MillwallFC 2-0 at The Den.
    • • • • •
    It's an uphill task for #watfordfc now. They are 2-0 down to @MillwallFC and Marvin Zeegelaar has been shown a straight red card.
    • • • • •
    FT @MillwallFC U23 2-0 #watfordfc U23. Two goals in as many second-half minutes from Tom Bradshaw clinch all three points for the Lions.
  21. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Well that isn't a way to make a positive impression if your thinking of breaking into the 1st team squad!
  22. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    I know theres a limit to how many overage players you can field but can't help but feel it would have been more beneficial to get minutes in the legs of Deulofeu or Okaka as opposed to Zeegelaar.
  23. CaveManHornet

    CaveManHornet Reservist

    If these two mongs are dragging down the standards of our U23's, i'm dreading to see them start for the first team against the likes of Man City or Liverpool. Time for them to pack their bags and head off to a minnow team in a tinpot league methinks.
  24. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    To be Zeegelaar was apparently send off for slapping an opposition player....
  25. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    The Under 18s suffered the red card fate with a man being sent off just before half time for 2 bookings.

    Cannot remember the first booking but the second was a late sliding tackle in the middle of the pitch so no real complaints and we could have had another red card in the 2nd half tbh!

    However unlike the other 2 teams despite going a goal down they did battle back to draw 1-1 against Coventry - and also missed a penalty.

    Same player scored and hit the bar from the spot.
    oxhey67 likes this.
  26. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    EB Hornet, Burnsy and wfc4ever like this.
  27. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Usually we do our best to lose in the 1st round we play!
  28. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Under 23s won 4-0 against Bristol City this afternoon - did you go Oxhey?
  29. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

  30. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    I did and was very impressed with the application shown for the 90+ minutes. I'm sure something has either been said or collectively realised because whoever the XI on the pitch were at any given time, they did not stop running or closing down. In previous games this season there has been an element of coasting but not today. Game awareness wasn't always there with some sloppy decisions from the outfield players often giving the ball away cheaply, especially in the first half. It's all part of the learning process though.

    Todays team; Hoskins (GK); Eleftheriou, Mukena, Hudson, Gordon; Pereira, Charles (C), Phillips, Forster; Folivi, Cassidy. Subs: Baptiste (GK), Holsgrove, Bennetts, Hutchinson, Tricker.

    There was a change in goal with James Hoskins between the sticks. He looks a very modern keeper, comfortable with the ball at his feet and his passing out was lovely at times. He also looked very confident collecting crosses through a crowded penalty area.

    The back 4 were pretty solid in shape with both full backs less inclined to overlap the wingers than in previous games. This gave the team a far more solid base to work from, albeit against a ragged City side. Harry Hudson was the pick of the defenders for me and he really is developing nicely as the season progresses. Joy Mukena, his central partner, was sublime at times but also guilty of poor passing early on. I really like him though and hope he stays at WFC for the long term. Andrew Eleftheriou had his best game that I've seen him in, he looked a very solid full back today. Lewis Gordon played at left back and like Eleftheriou he looked solid as a defender. One thing I noticed about Gordon was his demeanour. He looks a bit like Mezut Ozil with his rounded shoulders and seemingly little boy lost body language but I watched him closely for a period in the first half and he picks up some excellent positions defensively which means he doesn't have to run all over the place recovering. He looks very astute in his defensive duties.

    Ashley Charles was solid throughout in midfield & both wide players, Forster & Pereira, were excellent in the 1st half. Each scored very good goals by cutting in and scoring inside the near post, Forsters in particular was a very sweet strike. Daniel Phillips had a bit of a 'mare for the first 45 minutes but excelled in the second period.

    Ryan Cassidy played well today and his through ball for Folivi's second was perfect. Folivi himself looked a much better all round player and scored two very good goals. The first a decent strike in off the bar & post from outside the area after neat footwork to lose his defender and the second a tidy finish from Cassidy's pass left him one-on-one with City's goalie. A word about Cassidy. I would hate to play against him if I were a defender because he's as niggly and sly as they come. I don't think I've seen any of his markers not lose it in the games I've watched and todays victim was actually booked for dissent after Ryan kicked the ball away! He's very subtle in what he does but man alive it looks frustrating to play against. To be fair, the team are obviously being taught that side of the game because they all frustrate the opposition players when they're looking to restart the game or trying to get the ball to restart. If it were the opposition doing it I'd be tearing my hair out.

    I also spoke briefly with Michael Folivi's family and they really are the nicest people. If he's as down to earth as they are then I think it will help him if/when he progresses to a higher standard of football and all its trappings.

    Well I'm glad I kept that short!
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  31. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Is Eddie Howe training them on Friday's..


    Good to hear the front 2 doing well - a couple of injuries and they might find themselves involved at some point.

    I do feel some will probably have to do with making decent careers elsewhere though.
  32. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    If we stay in the Premiership for any length of time then I'd say the vast majority will either be farmed out on loan, depending on any new regulations brought in, or sold/released.

    There are currently at least 22 players out on loan plus Kwasi Sibo (bought in the last window) who I believe will go on loan somewhere in Portugal in January. Then there are Joao Pedro and Filip Stuparevic waiting to come to the club, either to be loaned out or be around the squad. There are the young squad players like Quina, Wilmot, Navarro etc. There will then be players bought in for fees who'll be around the squad/team straight away.

    The pathway for any player from the development squad to the first team is really tough so only the outstanding ones will have a chance of getting anywhere near it. Are there any outstanding players there at the moment? If there were they'd be around the first team and not in the development squad right now but there are some very promising 17-20 year olds who may develop in the next two or three years.

    As for the front two, I hope we don't need to play them this season as I doubt very much either would make too much of an impact at this stage. But then with better players around them... who knows?!

    One thing I neglected to mention yesterday was Hayden Mullins talking to a couple of the players not in the team yesterday straight after the final whistle. He made a bee line for a little group of four and the only one I recognised was the keeper Sam Howes. All I heard spoken was Mullins to a tall(ish) white lad 'Have you signed yet?' to which he replied 'No, just waiting for the paperwork to go through.' They then embraced in the very modern way of clasped hand and shoulder to shoulder touching. Nice. The only thing I'm 100% sure of, it wasn't Vydra.
    wfc4ever likes this.
  33. WatfordTalk

    WatfordTalk Squad Player

    Did the tall white lad have black hair @oxhey67?
  34. oxhey67

    oxhey67 Squad Player

    He did. I think. 11pm after a horrendous Saturday and I'm not too sure what I look like right now.
    He may have had a closely trimmed and styled beard too. It's all a bit hazy right now, sorry.
  35. WatfordTalk

    WatfordTalk Squad Player

    Your description fits your own profile picture. Are you sure you weren’t looking at your profile picture?

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