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Watford coach reflects on Steven Berghuis playing for U21s

Watford’s academy chief felt Steven Berghuis today showed glimpses of the quality that persuaded Watford to make him, at the time, the second most expensive player in the club’s history.

The Holland winger, signed for a reported £4.5m from AZ Alkmaar in the summer, has not been seen in a first-team squad since the third round FA Cup win over Newcastle United and has not played a minute of Premier League football since the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in October. He last featured in a Watford shirt in January, scoring in the 3-2 friendly defeat for the U21s at Reading. The 24-year-old was given 70 minutes this afternoon for Harry Kewell’s side against Ipswich Town in a Professional Development League match at the training ground in London Colney.

Berghuis started brightly, experienced a lull in the middle of the match, and then sprung into life before he was taken off in a pre-planned substitution.

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“He brings some quality to the group,” said Chris McGuane. “We all know how good Steven is in his past. He’s got that extra bit of specialness when he plays. He’s a good player and you can see that today.”

Alex Jakubiak took his tally to 14 in the last 13 league games with a 61st-minute equaliser but Kyle Hammond, the outstanding player on view, got forward from left-back to score the opener after ten minutes and the winner, two minutes from time, to give the Tractor Boys, who were coached by former Liverpool, Millwall and Wolves winger Mark Kennedy, a 2-1 win.

“We probably created enough chances to not just win one game but maybe two or three games,” said McGuane. “Both their goals were disappointing. They didn’t have to work too hard for them.”