English Premiership

Deulofeu looking forward to Everton return

Gerard Deulofeu (Getty Images)
Gerard Deulofeu (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Gerard Deulofeu says he is looking forward to returning to his old club Everton when Watford make the trip north on Saturday.

The winger will hope to start for the Hornets at Goodison Park this upcoming weekend and take on his old club, where he enjoyed two separate spells.

The Spain international was first brought in by the Blues on loan in the 2013-14 season and, after spending time after that temporarily with Sevilla, he then joined on a permanent basis in 2015 before moving to AC Milan on loan in January 2017 and then re-joining Barcelona when they activated a buy-back clause later that summer.

The 25-year-old was well-liked on Merseyside and impressed out wide for the Toffees, scoring eight goals over the course of his two spells, while he managed 19 assists.

Now at Vicarage Road, Deulofeu’s focus is with Javi Gracia’s side but he admits he enjoyed his time with Everton and expects to get a warm welcome from the home fans, even though he’s going to be doing his best to secure a win for the visitors.

Deulofeu told Sky Sports: "I have a good relationship and a good connection with Everton fans. They love me and I love them.

"Every time I go to Goodison, the people are really happy and I’m proud about this."

Watford started the season poorly last weekend as they went down to a shock 3-0 defeat at home to Brighton and Deulofeu is by no means guaranteed a start on Saturday as he was taken off at half-time by Gracia, replaced by Roberto Pereyra, amid ongoing fitness concerns.

The 25-year-old had a muscle problem in pre-season and wasn’t able to play in all of Watford’s summer friendlies but did declare himself ready for the start of the new campaign and he will hope to be fine for his Goodison Park reunion this weekend.

He was linked with a move away from the Hornets over the summer with another of his previous clubs, AC Milan, said to be chasing him but he opted to stay in the Premier League and will aim to help Gracia’s side push for at least a top-half finish this term. Watford eventually ended the 2018-19 campaign in 11th after sitting higher than that for much of the season but they appeared to lose focus in the final weeks after getting to the FA Cup final.

Deulofeu’s finest moment to date for his current club came in the semi-final of the FA Cup when he scored twice against Wolves after coming on as a sub to help them get to the final, while in February Deulofeu became the first Watford player to score a Premier League hat-trick when he fired a treble in a 5-1 win over Cardiff City.

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