First Team 10/09/2019

Internationals: Mariappa's Jamaica Flying High

Adrian Mariappa kept a second clean sheet in four days for Jamaica last night, as the Reggae Boyz comfortably defeated Guyana 4-0 to stay top of their CONCACAF Nations League group.

It’s now 10 goals scored and none conceded by Jamaica, who defeated Antigua and Barbuda 6-0 on Saturday, with Mariappa also playing 90 minutes.

Another Hornets centre-half was in action across the Atlantic last night, as Craig Cathcart returned to the centre of Northern Ireland’s defence.

Cathcart could not keep Germany at bay, however, conceding second half goals from Marcel Halstenberg and Serge Gnabry as the team lost 2-0 and slipped to second in their UEFA European Championship qualifying group.

Northern Ireland are now behind Germany on goal difference and three points ahead of the Netherlands, who have a game in hand.

Elsewhere, Bosun Lawal played the first hour for the Republic of Ireland Under-17s in a friendly match against Russia in Spain, suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat.

Ben Wilmot was unused by Aidy Boothroyd as England Under-21s beat Kosovo 2-0 in a UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifier.

Lewis Gordon was also not used by Scotland Under-19s in their 3-2 friendly loss against Japan.

First Team 09/09/2019

Gomes: “He'll Find This A Better Club Than Before”

Quique Sánchez Flores will fit right back into a familiar set up at Watford, but returns to a more ambitious club with a stronger armoury than the one he left in 2016, according to Heurelho Gomes.

Sánchez Flores arrived at London Colney this morning (Monday September 9) and was quickly reuniting with old friends and making new ones at the training ground. One familiar face was Gomes, who made 39 appearances and won the Player of the Season award the last time the new Head Coach was in town.

“I believe it is going to be easy for him to adjust and to understand as well,” said Gomes, speaking to after training with Sánchez Flores again for the first time in over three years.

“He knows the club, he knows the training ground, he knows people that still work here behind the scenes, he knows the fans. Of course, this connection is good for us, we are a family club and this connection is very good for the fans; between players and them, between the manager and them.”

Sánchez Flores guided Watford to a comfortable mid-table Premier League finish and an FA Cup semi-final in his first season in charge, with the Hornets fresh from the Championship. Gomes was a key part of the team which gained promotion and held their own in the top-flight and thinks the resources at the Head Coach’s disposal now will allow him to push on quickly.

“I think the quality we have now is a much better quality than we had when he was here before,” said the goalkeeper. “The big change is the players we have here, and of course some facilities are better than when he was here the first time. But the most important thing is that he will find this a better club than it was before when he first came. The reception is always the same, the club never changes in this way, but the ambition of course is much higher than it was when he was here before.

“He was the one to lead us in our first season in the Premier League and we did something very special together. It’s great to have a manager like him back, especially in a situation like we are in at the moment. To have a manager who understands the club and the way the club wants to be, and a manager who understands the game as well.

“He’s not new to the competition, he knows how to do it, I believe in our hardest moments as well, because it was not easy to glue the team after we were promoted to maintain in the Premier League. It’s great to have him back, we did very good work together.”

Sánchez Flores held a team meeting with his new squad before taking them out for training with his coaching team this afternoon. He addressed old faces – such as Gomes and captain Troy Deeney – and new arrivals too. Gomes has already told players unfamiliar with Sánchez Flores that he expects the Head Coach to lead them to a great season.

“The players can understand that we have a manager who has arrived to get things right,” said Gomes. “We have a manager that is always trying to get the best out of the players. So, if they are in the right way, with the right mentality, it’s going to be easy for them to show themselves to him.”

The first training session was a case of ‘getting to know you’ according to Gomes, as Sánchez Flores explained how he wanted his new team to train and how he wants them to set up.

“Quique was normal, like he used to be,” said Gomes. “Intense, he likes compartments, he likes the team to be together. Especially at this moment I think we need the team to be together, both here [off the pitch] and on the pitch as well. This is very important for us.”