Full Holland international Steven Berghuis says he will talk with Watford bosses about his future after conceding his first season at the club has not lived up to expectation.
The 24-year-old arrived at Vicarage Road from AZ Alkmaar in a deal worth €6.5m, but he found himself on the periphery from the outset and made just nine substitute appearances in the Premier League. Quique Sanchez Flores resisted the clamour to hand him a start even after Watford secured their top-flight status for a second season, strangely leaving him on the bench against Sunderland on the final day.
“It has not at all been what I expected,” Berghuis told De Telegraaf after assisting Vincent Janssen’s opener in Holland’s 2-1 win over Poland on Sunday – his first start for his country. “To stay at Watford, I should now be 100 per cent sure that I can get a lot of minutes. It is difficult because if the club tells me to stay then I will respect my contract until the summer of 2019. But we are going to talk about it.”
Fortunately, owner Gino Pozzo has a good relationship with Berghuis agent, Mino Raiola, so the situation should be easily smoothed, particularly following the exit of Quique Sanchez Flores.
Sanchez Flores cast Berghuis into the wilderness for six months from October to April, starting him only in the FA Cup win over Newcastle United. Berghuis did return for four of the Hornets’ final five matches, assisting Sebastian Prodl’s consolation goal in the 3-1 loss at West Ham United and supplying the cross for Troy Deeney to equalise in the 3-2 comeback win over Aston Villa. That form caught the eye of Holland coach Danny Blind who drafted him into the Holland squad as a late replacement for Bart Ramselaar.
Berghuis was handed his international debut as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland, earning him a start against the Poles in the next game. The national team call up – his first since last June – came out of the blue for the winger who was in New York on a summer break.
“If the coach calls you after a year, you feel a lot of confidence,” he said. “But I realise that I can’t have yet another season [like this]. I would prefer to play with Watford in the Premier League, but if I can’t, I want to look at other things. The coach has told me that I have to play well and make a good choice. And rightly so. I no longer felt sorry for myself, but I feel like a footballer again and I want to hold onto that feeling.”
Berghuis should go head-to-head with Sebastian Prodl when Holland meet Austria tomorrow.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of this week’s issue of WD Sport for more Watford FC news, including a fascinating Q&A with crowd favourite Craig Ramage.