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Steven Berghuis: ‘I can’t experience another Watford season like this one’

Steven Berghuis has reiterated how unhappy he is with the amount of football he has played at Watford this season and says he will review his options at the end of the campaign.

The 24-year-old arrived at Vicarage Road last summer in a £4.5m move from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. He turned down a switch to PSV Eindhoven, who made it through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League this season, in favour of joining the Hornets. Berghuis has played just eight times for Watford and only one of those appearances was a start. He has managed 215 minutes of first-team football and has only recently been brought back into the fold after spending between January 13 and April 2 in the wilderness.

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“It was a fantastic opportunity to join Watford,” he said in an interview with Dutch radio station NOS. “The idea the club sold to me was to play a 4-3-2-1 formation with wingers who service the strikers. Due to circumstances I have hardly been part of the squad for more than six months. That is not good. We play 4-4-2 with wingers now and again, but the wingers are not there for a one against one situation in a creative sense. They are there more for the defensive organisation.”

Almen Abdi and Jose Manuel Jurado, two classic central playmakers, have been used as auxiliary wingers with limited success. It was an experiment which backfired horribly at Wembley on Sunday as Abdi, in particular, and Jurado were two of Watford’s least effective players. Berghuis, a typical winger who showed encouraging signs against West Ham United four days earlier, sat unused on the bench, despite the head coach claiming in midweek that: “Now he is ready and can play in every single game.”

Football - Watford v Sevilla - Pre Season Friendly - Vicarage Road - 15/16 - 31/7/15 Watford's Steven Berghuis Mandatory Credit: Action Images / John Sibley EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

We understand Berghuis turned down winter loan moves in England and wanted to return temporarily to Alkmaar, where he is highly thought of.

“In a football sense I am unhappy at the moment but my personal life is fine and I am convinced about my own football qualities,” he said. “This is not why I came here and next season will not be like this season. I have notified the club of my intentions. A loan is also a possibility but that depends if the manager Quique Sanchez Flores stays. He has a year left on his contract.”

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The handling of Berghuis may have created difficulty in the relationship between owner Gino Pozzo and Mino Raiola, the top agent who represents Berghuis and Etienne Capoue. Pozzo and Raiola have known each other for more than 20 years.

“I want to reiterate that I have no regrets about my choice to come to Watford,” said Berghuis. “It is just how the season has gone for me with the team’s way of playing and that fact that I play no part in the squad which is frustrating. I think it would be best to look at different options next season. I will review my options at the end of the season. I do not rule out a return to the Netherlands, although that could prove difficult in terms of the salary differences. The most important thing is not to experience another season like this one.”