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Quique: ‘Penaranda supporting Granada is the right thing’

The majority of top-level footballers are trained to speak to the media. They know what to say and what to not say. So Adalberto Penaranda affirming his loyalty to a struggling Granada side should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

The 18-year-old, who Watford signed from Granada in January before loaning him back to the Spanish club, has been one of the shining lights in a poor campaign for the La Liga side. They are battling relegation so it would hardly have gone down well if the Venezuelan had come out and expressed his desire to play for Watford next season.

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The Hornets have him tied to a four-and-a-half year contract so they will decide where he plays next season. WD Sport understands the club will apply for his work permit next week and, should it be granted, Penaranda will link up with Watford for pre-season training, although that may be delayed if he’s involved in the Copa America. Regardless, he will not be at Granada for the 2016-17 season.

So Hornets fans shouldn’t be concerned. Quique Sanchez Flores certainly isn’t. The Watford head coach spoke to the media this morning and was inevitably asked about Penaranda and the crudely translated quote in which the forward supposedly said: “I would tell Granada fans not to worry because if the team remain in the Primera (La Liga), I’ll be staying here next season.”

Sanchez Flores has been involved in football long enough to know exactly how it works when players talk to the media. He didn’t expect Penaranda to say anything different.

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“It is perfect what he is saying because at this moment he is at Granada, who are fighting to keep their place in La Liga,” Sanchez Flores said. “He feels passion for Granada and these are the best words he can say at this moment. When the season finishes everything can change. At this moment Penaranda is transmitting a message that he is thinking fully about Granada. I love that.

“It would be completely strange if he was fighting for Granada but saying: ‘Next season I will be at Watford’. It would be crazy. He is defending his team, which is right.”

There is an exclusive interview with Scott Duxbury, a Q&A with Watford legend Tony Coton and an exclusive column with former Watford midfielder Micah Hyde in the launch issue of our paper which is out now at all good retailers.

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