Jerome Sinclair and Abdoulaye Doucoure met their new teammates today as the vast majority of the Watford squad reported for pre-season training under new boss Walter Mazzarri.
Sinclair, who joined from Liverpool, and Doucoure, a January recruit from Rennes, were put through their paces by head of medical Richard Collinge and new trainer Giuseppe Pondrelli, who is one of nine members of Walter Mazzarri’s backroom team.
Doucoure, who is staying at Sopwell House before finding permanent accommodation, will have been keen to pass the tests with flying colours and totally rubbish the claims of the Rennes president who strangely said in May: “[His knee] is a sword of Damocles (is in peril) permanently. When he plays two games in a row, you take two litres of water out of his knee. Then, overnight, it may stop.”
Doucoure missed just six games, all of which came during the first half of the season while he was at Rennes.
Mazzarri, who officially started work on Friday, introduced himself to the squad and, we are told, had to communicate with the English speaking players largely through a translator.
The players involved in Euro 2016 (Craig Cathcart, Valon Behrami, Daniel Pudil, Costel Pantilimon, Sebastian Prodl and Christian Kabasele) and the Copa America (Juan Carlos Paredes and Adalberto Penaranda) have been given at least an extra week off, although there are still thought to be work permit issues to overcome before Penaranda and Isaac Success can join up. Jose Holebas, who played for Greece in Australia last month, will return on Thursday.
Giedrius Arlauskis, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Espanyol, and Matej Vydra, back from a disappointing season long loan at Reading, were also at the training ground in Bell Lane, London Colney as the players underwent a series of strength, flexibility and balance tests. Vydra is back with the bit between his teeth, determined to fight for his place in the squad, evidenced by the fact he spent more than two weeks last month training under the guidance of Pavel Nedved’s former fitness coach.
*PS Apologies for the lack of updates and the suspension of our print product. Serious family health issues have meant WD Sport has had to take a back seat. For the time being, we’ll publish articles when time allows but family must come first. Thanks to those who have wished us well, offered support and understood during this difficult period.