Chalobah returns to Vicarage Road - How has the midfielder developed since we last had him?

16/07/2017 09:57

A familiar face returned to Vicarage Road earlier this week as Chelsea's Nathaniel Chalobah rejoined Watford, with the midfielder signing a five-year-contract with the Hornets.

The midfielder joins for an undisclosed fee and Watford fans will remember Chalobah fondly, as he impressed during a loan-spell with the Hornets during the 2012/13 season.

Despite being a teenager at the time, Chalobah proved himself to be a real talent and played a crucial role as Watford finished in third place in the Championship.

He made 42 appearances for the Golden Boys that campaign, scoring five goals, the last of which being a stunner against Leicester City, a strike which is still one of my favourite Watford goals to this day. A month  doesn't go by without me re-watching that effort on YouTube.

Since leaving Vicarage Road, Chalobah has had loan spells at Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli, but it was last season where he really made his breakthrough at Chelsea.

The 22-year-old midfielder made 15 appearances in all competitions for Antonio Conte's men as they won the Premier League title. His first league start actually came against Watford during the Hornets' 4-3 defeat to the Blues at Stamford Bridge in April.

The midfielder has also racked up 97 caps for England at youth level and he played a pivotal role in England U21's European Championship campaign recently, where they reached the semi-finals.

To see how Chalobah has developed since we last had him on loan, I spoke to Chelsea fan @CarefreeYouth, to find out more about Watford's latest signing.


The Watford Blog: Watford fans are familiar with Nathaniel Chalobah after we had him on loan during the 2012/13 season. How has he developed since then and what sort of player can we expect to see this time round?

@CarefreeYouth: "Since you had him on loan at 17, his all-round game has come on. He is still the same type of player as before, but a lot more experienced and I'm confident that he will be a massive success for you."

Chalobah made 15 appearances for Chelsea last season. How did he perform when given the chance by Antonio Conte?

"When Chalobah played he did really well and as a fan, I'm disappointed he wasn't given more game time. Check out his assist for Victor Moses against Leicester if you get a chance. Conte seemed to trust him more than the other youth players in the first team but not enough for his or my liking and most Chelsea youth fans."


Marco Silva looks set to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation at Watford this season. Where could you see Chalobah fitting into that formation?

"In the 4-2-3-1 formation, I could definitely see him playing in one of the two defensive midfielder roles. He can break up play, has a great pass on him and is very tactically aware. Also, I expect him to get one or two goals from corners or free kicks, because he has a great jump on him, so I expect you will be trying to pick him out when he goes up."

Lastly, lots of Chelsea fans have been disappointed with the sale of Chalobah. Do you think he can be a success at Watford and could he be an outside bet for the England squad at the World Cup next summer?

"Most Chelsea fans love him and are very upset to see him leave. After what he did to Sergio Aguero against Manchester City last season, he went from a youth player to one of our own in one moment and will always be remembered for sticking up for a player on his own team. I very much expect that game time is one of the main reasons he left, because he knows if he gets minutes, he has an outside chance of making the World Cup squad.

"I don't think that senior England call-up is too far away after racking up 97 youth caps already and he is ready for that next step up. That's why a lot of Chelsea fans are unhappy that he has left because a Chelsea youth player who isn't too far away from breaking into the England senior team, has been allowed to join you for pennies in this market. However, that being said, Chelsea fans know this move and leaving Chelsea wasn't easy for him and see that he has made this decision to push on in his career and to get more games. We all wish him the best and he will be missed."

Thanks to Chelsea fan @CarefreeYouth for answering my questions!

I for one am delighted to see Chalobah back at Vicarage Road. The midfielder was one of my favourite players when we had him on loan and who can forget that goal against Leicester?

During his time with the club, he proved that he was one of England's brightest young talents and he impressed at Chelsea when given the opportunity last season as well.

At £5m, the signing of Chalobah is, quite frankly, a steal and if he performs well, the 22-year-old has an outside chance of making the England squad for the World Cup next summer.

I for one am excited to see what exciting young talents like Chalobah and Will Hughes can do for us this season and I am delighted to see the 22-year-old back at Vicarage Road.

Welcome back to Watford, Nathaniel!