COMMENT: Acquisition of Lucas Neill was a gamble worth taking for Watford

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images Picture: Action Images

Watford's latest acquisition has divided opinion.

Lucas Neill's age and the fact the 35-year-old has played in the Japanese, UAE and Australian leagues for the last three years has been highlighted as a potential criticism. But the player insists the standard in Japan and UAE is high and he had previously spent six weeks training with Blackburn Rovers so his fitness should be close to the level needed.

Watford's squad has lacked leaders and characters this season, with Fitz Hall only re-signing recently and Daniel Tozser not joining until a few weeks ago.

In Neill, they have a player who was once a target for Liverpool, played in the Europa League with Galatasaray and has 96 caps for Australia, who he captains.

He is vastly experienced and a natural leader. Traits which have been missing at London Colney and Vicarage Road.

The coaching staff have been impressed with not only Neill's performances in training but also the way he conducts himself around their London Colney base.

Hall and Joel Ekstrand's injuries, and a desire not to rush Tommie Hoban's recovery, were contributing factors to Neill's arrival as an option at centre half.

He qualifies as a home-grown player and we understand he is on a very modest wage with performance incentives based around reaching the play-offs.

Neill is highly motivated as his Australia manager has told him he must play if he wants to feature in his third World Cup this summer.

So if he shows the quality of yesteryear then the Hornets have a very good acquisition on their hands. If he doesn't then hopefully he will still be a positive impact around the dressing room. It was a gamble worth taking.

The signing also indicates the Hornets have not given up on reaching the play-offs.

- There will be an interview with Neill uploaded tonight and a comment piece on the club's current recruitment policy and their technical director Gian Luca Nani this afternoon.

Comments (17)

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2:13pm Thu 27 Feb 14

buckler says...

All very well you saying its a Gamble worth taking when your not using your own money! Will be another waste of money flop like most brought in recently!
All very well you saying its a Gamble worth taking when your not using your own money! Will be another waste of money flop like most brought in recently! buckler

2:29pm Thu 27 Feb 14

WFCinexile says...

A positive off-field influence is just as important as good players on it. If he brings a positive attitude and helps this team gel - then I very much welcome him.
A positive off-field influence is just as important as good players on it. If he brings a positive attitude and helps this team gel - then I very much welcome him. WFCinexile

2:41pm Thu 27 Feb 14

croxley46 says...

So why didn't Blackburn take him on after a trial there?
Can't see him being chosen for the Aussie squad for the World Cup finals if he can' t even get into their squad for a FRIENDLY next week!
Taxi for Nani at the end of the season.
So why didn't Blackburn take him on after a trial there? Can't see him being chosen for the Aussie squad for the World Cup finals if he can' t even get into their squad for a FRIENDLY next week! Taxi for Nani at the end of the season. croxley46

2:47pm Thu 27 Feb 14

hornetland says...

John Eustace would be a good signing for the same experience, good bloke to have a round the place. Oh yes, silly me, forgot.

Don't say Zola got rid of him as the head coach does not seem to be in charge of player recruitment. I hope Neill works but this "get rid of anything that was there before" seems to have missed out what was good. We may end up going forward in theend but this is a turgid, miserable season and what the club should do is play with attacking abandon, get the 10 or so points we need and ENTERTAIN THE FANS. Not going up is not an issue to me, going with my son and daughter to an entertaining spectacle is.
John Eustace would be a good signing for the same experience, good bloke to have a round the place. Oh yes, silly me, forgot. Don't say Zola got rid of him as the head coach does not seem to be in charge of player recruitment. I hope Neill works but this "get rid of anything that was there before" seems to have missed out what was good. We may end up going forward in theend but this is a turgid, miserable season and what the club should do is play with attacking abandon, get the 10 or so points we need and ENTERTAIN THE FANS. Not going up is not an issue to me, going with my son and daughter to an entertaining spectacle is. hornetland

3:00pm Thu 27 Feb 14

WessexLad says...

Surely the gamble is on his part as to whether he will get the games he needs? If he does play, then his leadership would be felt most alongside Tozser rather than in the back three.
Surely the gamble is on his part as to whether he will get the games he needs? If he does play, then his leadership would be felt most alongside Tozser rather than in the back three. WessexLad

3:07pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Willow23 says...

Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?
Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy? Willow23

3:27pm Thu 27 Feb 14

soulfulhornet says...

John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then ....

Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure.

Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man.

As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson!
John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson! soulfulhornet

3:35pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Harry's Bar says...

Willow23 wrote:
Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?
Blimey !.... that's nearly as good as one of Cornet's poems.
[quote][p][bold]Willow23[/bold] wrote: Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?[/p][/quote]Blimey !.... that's nearly as good as one of Cornet's poems. Harry's Bar

3:44pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Oracledave says...

soulfulhornet wrote:
John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson!
Hallelujah - sensible comment after a torrent of brainless drivel, characterised by a heady mix of factual inaccuracy and poor judgement.
As I said in a previous post - benefit may be limited but cost and therefore risk is commensurately low. This is how all businesses operate !
[quote][p][bold]soulfulhornet[/bold] wrote: John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson![/p][/quote]Hallelujah - sensible comment after a torrent of brainless drivel, characterised by a heady mix of factual inaccuracy and poor judgement. As I said in a previous post - benefit may be limited but cost and therefore risk is commensurately low. This is how all businesses operate ! Oracledave

3:50pm Thu 27 Feb 14

CaptainPC says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
Willow23 wrote:
Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?
Blimey !.... that's nearly as good as one of Cornet's poems.
Good post, considering.
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Willow23[/bold] wrote: Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?[/p][/quote]Blimey !.... that's nearly as good as one of Cornet's poems.[/p][/quote]Good post, considering. CaptainPC

4:44pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Wembley84 says...

If the policy is getting players in on loan and then putting them on the bench, then this has all the likelihood of being a success. Nothing against Lucas Neill, but if Sannino doesn't think he can cut it, he won't get any playing time
If the policy is getting players in on loan and then putting them on the bench, then this has all the likelihood of being a success. Nothing against Lucas Neill, but if Sannino doesn't think he can cut it, he won't get any playing time Wembley84

5:00pm Thu 27 Feb 14

tommy gunn says...

Can you imagine Lucas and Diakite on opposite sides in training now that would be worth watching.Fans have been asking for a bit of ' steel ' in defence now you have it if, ofcourse , they can stay on the pitch for the full 90.
Can you imagine Lucas and Diakite on opposite sides in training now that would be worth watching.Fans have been asking for a bit of ' steel ' in defence now you have it if, ofcourse , they can stay on the pitch for the full 90. tommy gunn

5:02pm Thu 27 Feb 14

bristol hornet says...

Steady on Frank, that is two good articles in one day.

Well done young man, and keep the pressure on Nani to give you a proper interview.
Steady on Frank, that is two good articles in one day. Well done young man, and keep the pressure on Nani to give you a proper interview. bristol hornet

5:31pm Thu 27 Feb 14

hornetland says...

Oracledave wrote:
soulfulhornet wrote:
John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson!
Hallelujah - sensible comment after a torrent of brainless drivel, characterised by a heady mix of factual inaccuracy and poor judgement.
As I said in a previous post - benefit may be limited but cost and therefore risk is commensurately low. This is how all businesses operate !
My Eustace comment was slightly tongue in cheek and I don't have in depth knowledge of what goes on and nor do you Oracle Dave, one would assume. Your "torrent of brainless drivel" comment was the only brainless drivel I could see. You are entitled to your opinion as is everyone else.

My overall comment was about entertainment, what we have had for the last few home games has certainly been mindless drivel and in my mind is not in question, it has been very hard to motivate my self and my family and go to games recently. Signing Lucas Neill may not improve our shot count. I don't know about you but I am not about just turning up and accepting any old tosh, I am no boo boy, I will never boo our own players and have been a season ticket holder for a long long time but when the fare being supplied is as poor as it has been then I will voice my opinion in places like this.

If you don't like it then tough.
[quote][p][bold]Oracledave[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]soulfulhornet[/bold] wrote: John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson![/p][/quote]Hallelujah - sensible comment after a torrent of brainless drivel, characterised by a heady mix of factual inaccuracy and poor judgement. As I said in a previous post - benefit may be limited but cost and therefore risk is commensurately low. This is how all businesses operate ![/p][/quote]My Eustace comment was slightly tongue in cheek and I don't have in depth knowledge of what goes on and nor do you Oracle Dave, one would assume. Your "torrent of brainless drivel" comment was the only brainless drivel I could see. You are entitled to your opinion as is everyone else. My overall comment was about entertainment, what we have had for the last few home games has certainly been mindless drivel and in my mind is not in question, it has been very hard to motivate my self and my family and go to games recently. Signing Lucas Neill may not improve our shot count. I don't know about you but I am not about just turning up and accepting any old tosh, I am no boo boy, I will never boo our own players and have been a season ticket holder for a long long time but when the fare being supplied is as poor as it has been then I will voice my opinion in places like this. If you don't like it then tough. hornetland

6:37pm Thu 27 Feb 14

cliff46 says...

Oracledave wrote:
soulfulhornet wrote:
John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson!
Hallelujah - sensible comment after a torrent of brainless drivel, characterised by a heady mix of factual inaccuracy and poor judgement.
As I said in a previous post - benefit may be limited but cost and therefore risk is commensurately low. This is how all businesses operate !
Two welcome sensible contributions.
My initial reaction to this signing was somewhat anti but now that I read about modest cost etc and the standard of football he has been playing I am happy to see how it turns out and wish him well.
All good Aussie sportsman hate losing so if he can help install that attitude into a few of our "slightly softer"foreign players then good on yer mate hope we can look back on it as an inspired signing!
[quote][p][bold]Oracledave[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]soulfulhornet[/bold] wrote: John Eustace left because at that point in time he was third choice as defensive midfielder. The club offered him a player/coach role if I recall correctly and John turned this down as he wanted to play as much as possible - understandably as he has possibly this season left and then .... Hogg was still with us at that point and Iriney had just joined so Eustace was down the pecking order. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I suspect the club would have offered him better terms to stay if the Hogg situation had arisen prior to Eustace's departure. Last season even when fully fit, John only played a handful of games - and not that impressively, but Zola acknowledged his influence as club captain and through his personality - hence the coaching offer. That he has played so many games for Derby is a tribute to the man. As regards Neill, let's see him play before judging whether he is a Malky or a Matt Jackson![/p][/quote]Hallelujah - sensible comment after a torrent of brainless drivel, characterised by a heady mix of factual inaccuracy and poor judgement. As I said in a previous post - benefit may be limited but cost and therefore risk is commensurately low. This is how all businesses operate ![/p][/quote]Two welcome sensible contributions. My initial reaction to this signing was somewhat anti but now that I read about modest cost etc and the standard of football he has been playing I am happy to see how it turns out and wish him well. All good Aussie sportsman hate losing so if he can help install that attitude into a few of our "slightly softer"foreign players then good on yer mate hope we can look back on it as an inspired signing! cliff46

7:48pm Thu 27 Feb 14

demerit says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
Willow23 wrote:
Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?
Blimey !.... that's nearly as good as one of Cornet's poems.
I can't remember any tossing going on in his poems though. His are more......classical I would say.
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Willow23[/bold] wrote: Be surprised if he plays three games for us bit like another "strong defender" we signed by the name of belkalhem. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Anyone else starting to feel this is watford's recruitment policy?[/p][/quote]Blimey !.... that's nearly as good as one of Cornet's poems.[/p][/quote]I can't remember any tossing going on in his poems though. His are more......classical I would say. demerit

5:36pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Robertwesty28 says...

I feel this is a great addition to the squad and we can benefit from a natural born leader who has obviously done it for many teams in the past.
I feel this is a great addition to the squad and we can benefit from a natural born leader who has obviously done it for many teams in the past. Robertwesty28

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