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Alessandro Diamanti ‘loves the challenge’ at Watford

Alessandro Diamanti has moved to dispel talk of a return to Italy by insisting he is “so happy at Watford”.

The Italian has not had the impact at Vicarage Road many expected since he joined on loan from Guangzhou Evergrande in the middle of August, playing just 65 minutes of first-team action. He has played 180 minutes of the two friendlies against Fulham, scoring the winner in the one last week and 90 minutes for the Under-21s against Queens Park Rangers.

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Turning 33 in May, his lack of involvement has been partly down to his fitness (he looked way off the pace in his 45-minute appearance against Southampton) and largely down to the form and fitness of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney. A move to Torino has been mooted, particularly as he spent more than 12 years of his career in his homeland, but, from Diamanti’s perspective, life in the Premier League is suiting him.

“It’s going very well,” he is quoted as saying by the Mundo Udinese website. “I have to climb a bit in the hierarchy of the coach, but in my career nothing was simple and I love challenges. I’m so happy.”

Diamanti is a popular member of the squad, providing good entertainment in and around the training ground and is a good trainer. Whether the club deem he is an effective use of a foreign player spot is another matter. Watford have registered their full quota of non home-grown players and any more foreign signings in January would be on a one-in-one out basis. Essaid Belkalem is certainly one candidate to make way and free up a spot.