Alfie Young

Harry Kewell on outgoing Watford defender Alfie Young

Harry Kewell has tipped Alfie Young, one of eight under-21 players who will leave Watford this summer, to be a late bloomer and feels he was the player most receptive to his coaching.

Young, 19, joined Watford’s academy setup in 2008 and captained the under-18 side but, as we exclusively revealed earlier this month, he will be released by Watford when his contract ends next week. Captain George Byers, Jorell Johnson, Matthew Hall, Josh Doherty, Bernard Mensah, Mahlondo Martin and Luke Simpson will also be released by the Hornets.

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Kewell, the former Liverpool and Leeds United winger, was fulsome in his praise of the tough-tackling Young, who can play at right-back or centre-back and was a fixture in his starting XI this season, missing just four league matches. “My favourite player this year – even though there was a lot of talk about Alex [Jakubiak], Dennon [Lewis] and George [Byers] – was Alfie Young,” Kewell said in an interview on Hornets Player.

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“When I first came in everyone was telling me a lot about him, that he was very young and that kind of stuff. He was the only player, for me, who took a lot of information on. The way he constructed himself and not only played in one position [was impressive]. I had the confidence to play him anywhere on the backline and one or two times I got him to play in the midfield. For me, he is a player who can learn a lot and, to this day, I still feel he can be a late bloomer.”