Adlène Guedioura remains part of the plans of Quique Sanchez Flores but the head coach admits he is struggling to match the Algerian’s expectations and find a place for him in his progressive team.
Guedioura has played just 42 minutes of Premier League football since signing on a permanent deal from Crystal Palace on the final day of the summer transfer window – and 21 of those came in the 1-0 win at Sunderland. He has only been given more than two minutes of action three times this season and it kind of summed up his third spell at Watford that he was about to be introduced against Tottenham Hotspur before Nathan Ake was sent off.
“I like Guedioura,” said Sanchez Flores. “He is an amazing person and an amazing player. He’s coming [here] a little bit with expectations. It was hard period for him as he was expecting to play and he’s not playing. I would like to find space for Guedioura. He was playing important an 15 to 20 minutes in some matches and in the last match he had bad luck because he was ready and then we received the sending off. It’s not the best season for Guedioura but we have a minimum of 19 matches more. Hopefully he will have the opportunity to play.”
Guedioura’s chances of playing look to be better than those of Steven Berghuis and Obbi Oulare. Oulare has not played a minute of competitive football since playing for Club Brugge against Standard Liege while Berghuis was recalled to the squad for the game against Chelsea yet is searching for his first taste of Premier League action since a cameo appearance against Arsenal.
“They have qualities, they have tools but we need to have a little bit of time with them,” said Sanchez Flores. “I think Steven is close to adapting to England. Oulare needs a little bit more time. In terms of going into the first XI or into a match they are not really ready.”
Berghuis has been selected in the squad for the last three away games but not made the cut for home games against Manchester United, Norwich City, Liverpool and Tottenham.
“It depends on the opponent, depends on the training week and it depends on the plan,” said Sanchez Flores when asked about his use of Berghuis. “Not just because if it is home or away.”
Joel Ekstrand is nearing full fitness and could feature in the Under-21 game with Brentford on January 11 or the one with Colchester United on the 25th.
“It’s possible,” said Sanchez Flores when asked if the Sweden international could be added to his Premier League sqauad. “He’s not completely ready. I do like Ekstrand to stay with us.”