First Team 06/03/2020

LFA: Foster Retains Goalkeeper Of The Year Award

Congratulations to Ben Foster, who was last night named Goalkeeper of the Year at the London Football Awards 2020.

The 36-year-old has retained his title, having also won the LFA prize last year.

Foster has kept nine clean sheets in the Premier League so far this season – only Liverpool's Alisson Becker and Burnley's Nick Pope have kept more.

He has also saved numerous points for the Hornets with outstanding saves, such as those to deny Sheffield United's John Fleck and Aston Villa's Wesley.

Foster has already won Watford FC's Sportsbet.io Player of the Month Award for December this season and was nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month and PFA Player of the Month awards in the same month.

The goalkeeper saw off Arsenal's Bernd Leno, Brentford's David Raya, West Ham's Łukasz Fabiański and Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita to win the LFA trophy this year.

Other winners on the night included Tammy Abraham (Premier League Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year), Thomas Frank (Manager of the Year) and Vivianne Miedema (Women's Player of the Year)

Now in its sixth year, the London Football Awards raise funds for former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter Bob Wilson OBE and his wife Megs’ charity Willow - the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.

First Team 06/03/2020

Pearson: “I Want Us To Always Be Competitive”

By Kevin Affleck

Nigel Pearson has no doubt about which division the club will be playing in next season after watching his side confirm its rich potential in that memorable win over Liverpool.

The Hornets pulled off their best ever Premier League win and one of its greatest all-time victories by putting three answered goals past Liverpool at a crackling Vicarage Road. The Head Coach knew his side were on the right track long before the riotous events on Saturday and saw enough in the game and in the immediate aftermath to know that wasn't a flash in the pan.

“I believe we'll stay in the Premier League,” said the bullish Head Coach who has trebled the Hornets' points tally since he took charge. “We worked very hard to get into a competitive situation. We've had some very good performances, some very good days and some days where we were not quite at our best. What I want us to always do is be as competitive as we can and have the intent to produce our best performance.

“Last week we were able to do it and I thought we played very well to get a fabulous win. Straight after the that game the mood in the dressing room was elated, but the players were very clear these are not the games we are going to need to win. Their understanding of our situation is pretty clear. I like the fact they are aware we have got to find a level of performance every time. The reality is that you are not going to be at your best every week, but providing I see the right effort and commitment, I think we have got a really good chance of staying up.”

Pearson takes his buoyant side to Selhurst Park on Saturday to face a Crystal Palace side who pulled off their own great escape in 2017/18. They had no points or goals after seven games yet managed to finish 14th.

“They've got good players,” said Pearson. “Roy's teams are very well set out and from being in real difficulty when Roy took over, they've been able to get a good level of stability. We know it's going to be a very tough game for us. The corresponding game was goalless but...both sides tried to win it. It wasn't a boring game of chess. It was two committed sides who nullified each other. It will be a tough game, for sure.”

The game on Saturday will pitch Pearson against Hodgson, two wily English coaches with plenty of experience and tactical acumen between them.

“He's had such a varied career and his contribution to the game is very well recognised throughout the world,” said Pearson. “He's managed extensively in Scandavia, in Italy, with the Swiss national side and he's multi-lingual. He's an English manager who has travelled extensively and been successful. He's had an incredible career.”