Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has said his Watford FC move was a dream come true.
The Nigerian was forced to look elsewhere as a youngster when he was told there was no future for him at Tottenham Hotspur, where he progressed as a youth player alongside the likes of Harry Kane and Ryan Fredericks.
He then spent time playing in several European leagues for teams in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Turkey before moving to Udinese in Italy.
Given that a number of players have made the move from Udinese to Watford and vice versa, Troost-Ekong was always aware that it was an available option and when the opportunity arose during this transfer window, he felt it was too good a chance to turn down, especially seeing as it was a stone’s throw from where he spent his teenage years and where his father-in-law, a Watford season ticket holder, still lives.
“It was something that was probably mentioned a few times just because you know there’s a pathway there,” he said. “But I really enjoyed my first year at Udinese and I played a lot there, all bar one or two games and last year was similar, so it was important for me to just get experience and play regularly and I did that, so it wasn’t necessarily something that was at the forefront of my mind.
“Then this year when this opportunity came up and they told me about the project here, it seemed like the right time and I wanted to be part of a success story and hopefully we can do that here.
“Coming home here was easy for me to commit long term and I really want to do something special with Watford.
“It was always my ambition, even when I left England at the time.
“I managed to get some experience and then it was just waiting for the right moment.
“There were some moments in the previous years I could’ve come back as well, but this seemed like the right time for me and I’m happy to be here, especially at a club like Watford which is close to where I lived and grew up in my teenage years and also the potential with this club and the ability within the team played a big part in that as well.”
After years of moving from team to team and country to country, Troost-Ekong is now ready to settle down and, while he’s only been back in England three days, he knows the expectation is for him to stay with the Hornets for the long-term.
“I’ve only been here three days so it’s difficult to say, but I think it’s everyone’s intention that I’m going to be here for a while,” he said. “But I’ve learnt in football that you can’t really predict that stuff, so I’m just waiting to get started, I just want to play some football and then after we’ll see, but I think it’s everyone’s intention for me to be here for a while.”