Heurelho Gomes’ excellent performances in the Premier League were recognised last night with the Watford goalkeeper sweeping the board at the end of season awards evening.
The goalkeeper won the Player of the Year award, Players’ Player and Individual Performance of the Season last night, becoming the first goalkeeper to win the top prize since Ben Foster in 2007.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said. “It’s not easy, we’ve got Deeney, Cathcart, Watson, the whole team made me feel good. It’s been a pleasure to play for you and I’ll try to do my best every time to put Watford where we want to. If we stick together and stay behind the club, like we have this season, we’re going to achieve big things in the future.”
The 35-year-old, who joined the Hornets in the summer of 2014 after being released from Tottenham Hotspur, said at the start of the campaign he wanted to prove those who doubted his quality wrong. He has certainly done that.
Over 39 matches Gomes has barely put a foot, or glove for that matter, wrong. There are only two matches in which you can recall him making errors – against Leicester City away and at Carrow Road against Norwich City.
The crowning glory of his exceptional season came at West Bromwich Albion in April where he saved two penalties from Saido Berahino. Watford would win the game 1-0, a victory which guaranteed their top-flight status. It was enough to win him the Individual Performance of the Season award, ahead of Troy Deeney (Swansea h), Ben Watson (Stoke a), Etienne Capoue (West Ham h), Odion Ighalo (Liverpool h) and Craig Cathcart (Arsenal FA Cup).
But Gomes’ influence is far-reaching – it goes beyond what he does on a Saturday afternoon. His experience is vital in the dressing room, in which he is one of the leaders. He is a calm head and someone Troy Deeney, who says Gomes is ageing like a fine wine, uses as a soundboard.
“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 for us.”
Gomes’ successes at last night’s awards ceremony, which was held at Wembley Stadium, were expected. As was the recipient of the Goal of the Season honour.
There were few genuine contenders to choose from, in what has been a goal-shy campaign for the Hornets. So there was only going to be one winner: Adlene Guedioura’s thunderous strike which secured Watford’s passage to the FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win at the Emirates.
“I think I’ve watched that goal back too many times,” Guedioura, who won Goal of the Season awards at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest during the 2011-12 campaign, told Hornets Player.
“It was a big souvenir. I will never forget it and many players here will never forget this moment. I will never forget this moment because it was a great day for everyone, it was a sunny day, we won the game there and it was the quarter-final. It was a great moment.”