When it comes to picking Watford’s player of the season then it is difficult to see past Heurelho Gomes. He should win it by a landslide.
Yes, other players have performed well but usually in spells. Odion Ighalo was brilliant during the first half of the campaign. Etienne Capoue, too. And Ben Watson was superb from November to February. But for sheer consistency you’re looking at three players in our opinion; Gomes, Craig Cathcart and Troy Deeney.
The latter two have done very well. Cathcart has rarely put a foot wrong while Watford fans know, in Deeney, what they’ll get every matchday. He’ll battle non-stop, will lead the side and will never hide.
However, Gomes has often been the difference in ensuring victories don’t turn into draws and draws don’t turn into defeats. That was again the case against Everton on Saturday.
“The goalkeeping, shot-stopping wise, from both keepers today has been ten out of ten,” said Rene Gilmartin in his role as summariser for BBC Three Counties Radio. Gilmartin was particularly effusive about the double save Gomes made to deny Aaron Lennon and Romelu Lukaku. “The first one is awkward as it comes through legs but he’s up like a flash for the second and that was sure to be 2-1 had he not saved that.”
For a side who will stay up with plenty to spare, the Hornets haven’t half relied on their keeper.
“There is no doubt Gomey is underrated,” Ben Watson said. “In the year and a bit I’ve been at the club he’s made just two mistakes. He’s been unbelievable and is easily one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. I think people still remember his time at Tottenham when he made a few mistakes. He’s human and that is going to happen but, for me, he is fantastic.”
It’s not just on the field that Gomes makes a difference. He is one of Quique Sanchez Flores’ leaders in the dressing room and a soundboard for Hornets’ skipper Troy Deeney. His influence is wide ranging and Sanchez Flores often leaves the pitch in conversation with his keeper.
“He has been a model professional and has helped me with certain situations that occur,” Deeney said earlier in the campaign. “As we know I am an emotional guy so sometimes I want to go and nail somebody for making a mistake – not that that has happened this year, this is last year – but he [Gomes] will tell me that it isn’t worth it.
“Sometimes though I won’t think something is worth it but he will then tell me to get into them. So he gives me a nudge sometimes. He also plays like he trains. He is top drawer and always wants to win. He has been quality.”
Gomes was typically magnanimous in collecting the official man-of-the-match award.
“I’m pleased to help the team, but the most important thing is how we approached the game today and I believe in the game before there was a little bit of a lack of confidence and desire, but we did things differently today,” he told Hornets Player. “We had a meeting during the week, the manager reminded us how we played the first half of the season, how is our game, how is our passion when we approach the game, and we needed to do more of that.”