Adlène Guedioura missed both games with Norwich City last season yet it would come as no surprise if it’s a case of third time lucky and his name flashes up in the starting XI announced on the new TV screen in the south-east corner of Vicarage Road tomorrow.
Quique Sanchez Flores is a growing admirer of the Algerian and is waiting for the right moment to start him for the first time. His cameo off the bench against Aston Villa has put him to the forefront of the head coach’s thinking for the spot on the right-hand side of the team.
“I’m very happy [with Guedioura],” said the head coach. “He deserves more minutes.”
We’ve been here before, though, at the end of October when Sanchez Flores said “now is the time to put Guedioura on the pitch” before the game against Stoke City. He got one minute of action at the Britannia Stadium and four more against West Ham United.
“I spoke a lot with Guedioura,” said the head coach. “He is in the same situation as [Ben] Watson at the start of the season. Watson was not playing but I said, ‘Watson, you are not playing now or five, seven, 10 minutes maximum, but you will play in some moment. I don’t know when, but you will play.’ Guedioura is the same. He is ready and can play as quick as possible.”
That will be music to the ears of Guedioura who is itching to resume his Watford career.
“I haven’t started a game but I’m sure it come soon,” he said yesterday. “I’m sure he will give me my time at the right time. I’m really focussed that I will come in and I will do well, that he will be happy and he will keep me in the team.”
Guedioura has paid the price for the protracted nature of his summer-long transfer from Crystal Palace. Not only did he miss the sessions at UCL either side of the intense pre-season work in Germany, but four Premier League games had elapsed by the time he landed his dream return move. Sanchez Flores felt a summer working and training with the Under-21 players at Palace was no preparation for a spot in his highly-organised and high-energy side.
“The coach is someone who wants to communicate and wants you to understand his plan,” he said. “He has a plan and he knows what he really wants. You can really learn from him tactically because he knows a lot. As a player you are happy to have him and you can learn from him a lot.”
Where does Guedioura view his talents are best suited in Sanchez Flores’ 4-2-3-1 formation? Wide on the right or one of the two stationed in front of the back four?
“Just in the team,” he joked. “I’m a central midfielder, I like to play in the middle but if play, like last time when I came here, on the right I will play there.”