Gabriele Angella says he returns to Udinese as “a more mature player” after three years in England.
Watford announced last week that Angella was returning to the Pozzo-owned Serie A club exactly a year after signing a new five-year contract at Vicarage Road. The centre-half made 45 appearances in his first season at Vicarage Road, 36 in the Championship-winning campaign and then 19 while on loan at Queens Park Rangers last season.
There was a chance Angella was going to complete a permanent move to Loftus Road in January as part of a deal to take Matt Phillips to Vicarage Road but the deal broke down. Still surplus to requirements at Vicarage Road, Angella was granted the chance to return to Udinese, the club he first joined in 2010.
“I want to thank the Pozzo family for this opportunity,”Angella said today in a press conference. “We’re starting a new season with a quality coach in [Giuseppe] Iachini. “I’m delighted to be here. I’ll give 110% whenever I’m called upon. It’s crucial that we create a team spirit here. I’m looking to get a good pre-season under my belt then vie for a starting spot. I want to do my bit for this team.”
Angella, who struck up a close friendship with Diego Fabbrini while at Watford, did not pull up many trees on loan at QPR but he was the linchpin of the defence that helped Watford win promotion and got to pit his wits against Premier League players in FA Cup games against Manchester City and Chelsea.
“I spent three years in England and come back a more mature player,” he said. “Football is a less stressful game in England. Less thought goes into it and it’s more physical. England is way ahead of Italy in terms of facilities and marketing but Udinese have a magnificent stadium now.”
Vicarage Road is not quite up to the standard of the Dacia Arena, the all-seater football stadium in the Udine, but it is taking shape nicely. Angella, 27, last appeared at the Hornets’ home, as an unused substitute against West Bromwich Albion. His last appearance for Udinese was a 5-2 hammering of Inter Milan, a match that signalled the end of Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni and the start of Walter Mazzarri’s reign at the San Siro. How times have changed.