Sport Soccer

Friday 23 August 2019

Gracia: ‘Quality’ signing Welbeck unlikely to feature against Brighton

The Watford boss believes his side are ready for their Premier League opener against Brighton.

Javi Gracia believes his Watford side are ready for their season opener against Brighton (David Davies/PA)
Javi Gracia believes his Watford side are ready for their season opener against Brighton (David Davies/PA)

By Sonia Twigg, PA

Watford boss Javi Gracia believes Danny Welbeck is a “quality” signing but admits the striker is unlikely to feature in their season opener against Brighton on Saturday.

The 28-year-old, who has won 42 England caps, had been without a club since being released by the Gunners at the end of last season and has had a career hindered by injury.

When asked about the forward, Gracia said: “In my opinion (Welbeck) is a very good player and with good players you can improve and I think it is the best thing for us.

“He has played with his national team recently (Welbeck appeared against Spain last September in the Nations League) and I think it is good news for us, and we will see what we are able to achieve.”

Welbeck has not played since breaking his ankle before Christmas against Sporting Lisbon in what turned out to be the last of his 127 Arsenal appearances, but Gracia was not overly concerned with his fitness.

“To be honest he started this morning, he was with the medical staff doing some tests, and after these tests I expect he will be ready to train with the team as soon as possible,” he said.

“Everybody knows he is quality, we will see if he is ready soon to play with the rest of the players. We will try to help him to recover as soon as possible his best condition and try to compete with the other players.”

When asked whether the forward would feature on Saturday, the Spaniard said: “I don’t think so.”

Watford have also made two other notable signings this window, Craig Dawson from West Brom and deadline-day capture Ismaila Sarr.

On Dawson, Gracia said: “I think he is the player that we needed, we have in my opinion a good defensive line but to have more options is always good for the team.”

Senegal winger Sarr arrived from Rennes for a reported club-record fee of £30million, having scored 13 goals in 50 appearances last season for the Ligue 1 outfit.

Watford started last season with four successive league wins and Gracia insisted his side’s mentality is the same going into the new campaign.

“I think after the pre-season now the team is ready to compete and play their first game,” he said.

“We try to keep the same good things we did last year and try to repeat it in the same way.

“Every season is different and you never know what is going to happen in the next games but our mentality is the same as we had last season.”

PA Media

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