A misty Monday evening at St Albans City’s Clarence Park was probably not what Obbi Oulare envisaged when he swapped Club Brugge for Watford last summer. But, right now, featuring for the Hornets’ Under-21 side seems his best chance of playing competitive football.
The 20-year-old has three first-team appearances to his name this season: a start in the FA Cup third round against Newcastle United and then late cameo substitute appearances against Swansea City and Leicester City. Oulare has played 50 minutes for Quique Sanchez Flores’ side.
He isn’t match fit and that is why he was told to turn out for the under-21s against Bolton Wanderers last night. Oulare played 75 minutes of the 1-1 draw before being replaced due to a jaw injury he suffered during a heavy aerial collision.
And while the Belgium Under-21 international may not have got his name on the scoresheet (Alex Jakubiak got the goal), he did impress Harry Kewell, although the Hornets coach does admit Oulare needs to use his imposing 6ft 4in frame more effectively.
“What Obbi has got to understand is that with his height comes a lot of responsibility,” said Kewell when asked by WD Sport. “A lot of defenders are going to try and hit him and pin him. So he has to realise that every game is going to be tough. However, I thought he did exceptionally well today. He just wants to play. He feels he is able to perform better in training when he has got 90 minutes under his belt. It is a shame that today he couldn’t get that 90 minutes. But it’s not easy for him because he doesn’t train with us. So it is a new team in that respect. I thought he did well and caused them problems.”
Until Watford secure safety it is unlikely Hornets fans will see much of Oulare. They may not see much of him after they do. He is a work in progress. A project, as Sanchez Flores often explains. What areas of his game does Oulare have to work on?
“Look, every player needs to improve every single day,” the former Leeds United winger said. “If you are asking a player to work on one specific point then I think that is the wrong mindset. You need players working on every aspect of their game and that is what he is getting at Watford. It’s why he is doing well here.”
Oulare posted this on Instagram after the game.