We catch up with some players who have come out of Watford’s academy in recent years.
Many recent Watford academy graduates have moved on to play for teams in League Two. Josh Doherty and Gavin Massey are currently signed with Leyton Orient.
In 2012, Massey left Watford for Colchester United and clocked up 178 appearances for the club before leaving in the summer. So far this season, he has been a regular for the O’s, scoring three goals in 13 games. Doherty is now on loan at National League North side Altrincham.
Jazzi Barnum-Bobb signed for Cardiff City in July of 2014 before being loaned out to Newport County. In July, the defender made his move to Rodney Parade permanent and has featured 7 times so far this season.
Piero Mingoia and Bobson Bawling are both regular starters for their League Two outfits. Bawling has played over 60 times in his two year spell with Crawley Town. Mingoia enjoyed a successful three years with Accrington Stanley before joining Cambridge United in the summer. He recently scored a wonder goal to help knock Sheffield Wednesday out of the EFL Cup.
They are joined in the third tier of English football by Connor Smith and Luke O’Nien. Smith spent last season with promotion-winning AFC Wimbledon but was restricted to 11 appearances and has since moved to Plymouth Argyle. O’Nien turned in a string of exciting performaces to become a fans’ favourite in his first year with Wycombe Wanderers. Unfortunately, the midfielder has missed the start of this campaign due to a broken leg.
Of course, we couldn’t go without mentioning Lloyd Doyely, who signed for League Two outfit Colchester United earlier this month.
Sean Murray, Marvin Sordell and Adam Thompson all play their football in League One. Murray left Vicarage Road in August and has already made an impression at his new club, Swindon Town. The midfielder has played nine times this season, contributing one goal and four assists, two of which came in the EFL Trophy against Chelsea’s U23’s.
Sordell has played for five clubs since leaving the Hornets. The forward is now at Coventry City and has scored four goals in a struggling side. While, Adam Thompson is a regular at centre back for Phil Brown’s Southend United side.
Both Britt Assombalonga and Jonathan Bond are at Championship clubs. Assombalonga left Watford in 2013 and managed an eye-catching 23 goals in his debut season for Peterborough. His exploits earned him a move to Nottingham Forrest, where he continued his prolific goal scoring form. However, the forwards time at the City Ground has been badly hampered by injuries.
Bond is contracted to Reading but he has been loaned out to Gillingham until January. The keeper will compete with Stuart Nelson for the no.1 position.
George Byers stayed in the Premier League following his release from Watford. The midfielder has scored twice in three games for Swansea’s U23 team.
There are two ex-academy players who aren’t in English football anymore. Lee Hodson is playing for Scottish giants Rangers. The fullback played in their recent 1-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic. Meanwhile, Ross Jenkins is playing in the Romanian top-flight with Poli Timisoara.
Many other ex-Hornet academy men find themselves in non-league football including: Bernard Mensah (Aldershot Town), Dale Bennet (Forest Green Rovers), Michael Bryan (Harrow Borough), Matthew Whichelow (Wealdstone), Matt Bevans (Oxford City) and Aaron Tumwa (Margate).