No subject was off limits when Etienne Capoue spoke to the media ahead of Watford’s FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace. That is, until, he was asked about his goalscoring record this season.
It’s a sore point for the French midfielder, who has yet to open his account for the Hornets since joining the club in the summer. We are not at Lloyd Doyley proportions just yet but it’s bothering Capoue that he hasn’t scored since January 2015 for Tottenham Hotspur against Burnley.
He’s had several opportunities in the 35 games he’s played but none have been taken, although he did have the ball in the back of the net against Leeds United, only for the goal to be disallowed for a foul by Troy Deeney. There was also the howitzer he flashed just over the bar at Old Trafford from long range.
Capoue could break his duck at Wembley on Sunday, on the biggest stage of Watford’s first campaign back amongst the elite. “Please, I don’t want to talk about goals,” he said. “I’ve given them up.”
Surely not, not when you possess ability like his and when you see how he rattled in a couple in pre-season that left people open mouthed. He was messing, obviously. He would dearly love to find the back of the net. It’s just he’s being ribbed by his teammates for his barren spell.
“My teammates are always on at me about this,” he said. “[Sebastian] Prodl scored on Wednesday and has already said to me: ‘Now I’ve got more goals than you’. So I will not talk about goals. If it happens it happens. If not, ok.”
A couple of goals were all that was missing from Capoue’s first half season at Vicarage Road. He has dipped alarmingly during the second half but that’s partly down to being shunted out wide and partly because he’s not played this many games consecutively since his days at Toulouse. In his two years at White Hart Lane he was done by Easter if not way before. He’s just pleased to be playing at the business end of the season.
“I knew when I came here I’d have a chance to play,” he said. ” Before I joined I spoke to Heurelho [Gomes]. He told me straight: ‘It’s a good club, a family club. They will get you in the best condition to play and then it’s down to you to take your chance’. I feel I’ve taken that. I have certainly played my best season in England so far. I’ve had good seasons in France in the past but this is one of my best.”
And it’s not over yet. Capoue and Watford have an opportunity on Sunday to achieve a feat only one Watford side has done in the club’s 135 year history; reach the FA Cup final. The French international will start. It’s a sign of his importance that he was left out of Wednesday night’s squad for the game against West Ham United. Capoue is not counting his chickens, though.
“I don’t know [if I’ll start],” Capoue said. “I am not the gaffer but I have given everything this week to make sure I start. We are ready to do something very good in the FA Cup. Palace are a hard team and we’ll need to manage the game very well. We have to be strong mentally because there will be pressure in every single minute of the game.
“I’ve played in two cup semi-finals in France and played for my national team. But Sunday will be one of the most important games in my career. I lost both semi-finals but I hope the third will not be the same.”
Don’t get to pick up our newspaper when you are out and about today. It’s got everything you need ahead of Watford’s FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace.