First Team 11/11/2019

Internationals: Eight Hornets Called Up

The Hornets have had five first-team players and three Academy players called up by their countries for the November international break.

Ismaïla Sarr has been called up by Senegal for African Cup Qualifier matches at home to Congo on Wednesday November 13 at 7pm GMT and away to Eswatini on Sunday November 17 at 1pm GMT.

Northern Ireland have selected Craig Cathcart for Euro 2020 Qualifier matches at home to the Netherlands on Saturday November 16 at 7.45pm GMT and away to Germany on Tuesday 19 November at 8.45pm GMT.

Adrian Mariappa will join up with Jamaica for CONCACAF Nations League matches away at Antigua & Barbuda on Saturday November 16 at midnight GMT and at home to Guyana on Tuesday November 19 at 1am GMT.

Tom Dele-Bashiru has been selected by Nigeria Under-23s for an Under-23 AFCON Competition in Egypt. The midfielder was an unused substitute in a 1-0 defeat against Ivory Coast on Saturday (November 9), but will hope to be involved against Zambia on Tuesday November 12 at 7pm GMT and South Africa on Friday November 15 at 7pm GMT.

Pontus Dahlberg will join Sweden Under-21s for a UEFA Under-21 Qualifier match away at the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday November 19 at 8pm GMT.

Ryan Cassidy has been selected by the Republic of Ireland Under-19s for UEFA Under-19 Championship Qualifier matches against Switzerland on Wednesday November 13 at 10am GMT, Gibraltar on Saturday November 16 at 12noon GMT and Austria on Tuesday November 19 at 1.30pm GMT.

Tomas Galvez has been called up by Finland Under-15s for a training camp and U15 UEFA Development tournament in Portugal from November 19 to 27, while George Abbott has been selected by Wales Under-15s for a training camp including two matches against Slovakia on Tuesday November 12 and Thursday November 14.

Roberto Pereyra was selected by Argentina for friendly matches against Brazil and Uruguay but has withdrawn due to an injury picked up during Watford’s match against Norwich City.

Under-23's 10/11/2019

Under-23: Fulham 3-4 Watford

By Kevin Affleck

Hayden Mullins felt the team spirit binding this newly-assembled group of players came racing to the fore in the Premier League Cup tie with Fulham as they recovered from falling behind three times to win a thriller.

The Cottagers, who beat holders Everton in their opening match in this group, took the lead through Fabio Carvalho, Jayden Harris and then Tayo Edun, but on each occasion the Hornets came up with an answer. Joseph Hungbo got the first, Kaylen Hinds netted the second, Sonny Blu Lo-Everton got his first at this level for the third equaliser before Hungbo cracked in another fine goal for the winner 18 minutes from time.

Seven of the starting XI at Fulham's Motspur Park training ground were not even contracted to the club at the end of last season, but the integration process has been so smooth and the bond formed already so tight that they look like they have been playing together for a couple of seasons. They were even able to complete this rescue act without Sam Dalby, the striker who limped off before the hour, and captain Jamal Balogun, who was only fit enough to be among the subs. 

“Fulham are a good side so this is a result the boys have got to be pleased with,” said Mullins. “To come here and score four goals and beat them is a very good testament to the lads. We are in a good run of form, but it all comes from working hard and trying to do the right things at the right time. It all stems from the hard work they put in during the week. Now they are getting the rewards.”

The side are eight points clear at the top of the South Division of the Professional Development League and now they are top of a Premier League Cup group that includes Fulham, Everton and Plymouth. The win over Fulham was notable as the hosts are a Category 1 Academy side and boasted Timmy Abraham, the brother of England striker Tammy, in attack.

“It was a good win as one of the things we try and instil in them is to keep going right until the end,” said Mullins. “We encourage them to stick to the game plan if they go behind and to keep playing the way we want, which is to attack and press from the front. I thought we did those two things really well.”

There is no chance of Mullins allowing this group of players to think they have cracked it before the Christmas decorations have even gone up. He will be poring over the footage to see how they managed to concede three goals despite playing really well defensively, with Bayli Spencer-Adams and Harry Hudson in particular doing well at the heart of the defence.

“I'm really disappointed with the goals we have given away,” he said. “All three goals are from us switching off and that's hurt us. We are really disappointed with that, especially when we've had to work hard to break them down to get our goals. The ones we have given them are a bit cheap.”

Fortunately, the Hornets had enough guile and firepower at the other end to make up for the three lapses. Hungbo got the first and fourth to take his tally to ten for the season.

“He's not the finished article by any stretch,” said Mullins. “He knows there is a lot more to come but he is having a fantastic time and is in a rich vein of form. Long may it continue. He took his goals really well and could have had a hat-trick.”

Hinds, who was a highly-rated youngster at Arsenal and who has Bundesliga experience, had his most effective game for the team and showed his versatility by playing both roles in attack. He got the second after a wonderful defence-splitting pass from Callum Whelan. 

“Kaylen joined us this season and has showed good intelligence,” said Mullins. “He played in the ten role to start with then went up to play nine after Sam went off. He takes it all in his stride and plays both roles equally effective. He got on the scoresheet, which is always good, and I'm pleased for him as he's been brilliant for the group.”

Mullins has also been able to integrate Lo-Everton, the Scotland youth international, into a winning side in the last two matches. The playmaker, 17, linked the play nicely after coming on early in the second half and neatly put away the third goal.

“Sonny has been done really well,” said Mullins. “He's a player that we like as he's nice and bright in possession. We got him on early today early and it was a good opportunity to play behind Kaylen. He did it to really good effect.”

HORNETS: Parkes; Barrett, Spencer-Adams, Hudson, Gordon; Hungbo, Whelan (C), Wise (Adebiyi 72), Bennetts (Trialist 80); Hinds, Dalby (Lo-Everton 52). Subs not used: White and Balogun.