Watford defender Marco Cassetti loving laid-back lifestyle in England and only wishes he had made the move earlier

Watford Observer: Marco Cassetti says he has a "completely different way of life for a player" in England. Picture: Action Images Marco Cassetti says he has a "completely different way of life for a player" in England. Picture: Action Images

Watford defender Marco Cassetti says playing football in England has been a revelation for him and insists he wishes he made the move to this country 15 years ago.

The 36-year-old Italian joined the Hornets in August 2012 after six seasons at AS Roma which included three runners-up medals in Serie A, two Coppa Italia victories and four seasons in the Champions League.

After a tentative start to life at Vicarage Road, Cassetti’s composure on the ball, his anticipation and his ability to pick a pass saw him become a regular fixture in Watford’s back five under Gianfranco Zola and now Beppe Sannino.

Serving under two Italians and joining a club where these days they have Rome’s finest olive oil on the canteen tables instead of juice may have made it easier for the likeable veteran to settle in.

But when asked to sum up his 18 months at Vicarage Road it is not the similarities to life at home that Cassetti loves. It’s the differences.

“I have enjoyed what I had done before in my career but in England I have discovered another type of football, another religion of football, another way of playing the game and a completely different way of life for a player,” he said.

“I have been very surprised at how much I have enjoyed it. If I had known before how much I would like it here I would have come when I was much younger. I would have come 15 years ago.”

Despite his years, particularly in comparison to an increasingly youthful Watford squad, Cassetti dismisses the idea he has grown into a leader in the dressing room.

“I am not a leader, I am the joker,” he said, explaining his role of relaxing his teammates before kick-off and insisting football is to be enjoyed and played with a smile.

It is here that Cassetti feels he and English football have been a perfect match.

“When I arrived I liked this aspect of football in England a lot,” he said.

“It is more relaxed and for me that’s better because you go into the games feeling relaxed without pressure and you are a better player.

“It was strange, I came into the dressing room before the game and there was music playing.

“In Italy the manager would go crazy – it is absolutely not possible to have music in the changing rooms before a game, no way. It is not so intense here and I love it.”

Cassetti also talks passionately about the Watford fans. He described how in Italy losing at home in front of the ‘Ultras’ was unthinkable and recalls the huge pressure players would be under for days afterwards.

“The fans here are more intelligent,” Cassetti explained. “You can win, you can lose or you can draw and the majority of the time the supporters at the end of the match clap you because they know you put 100 per cent in to win the game.”

He continued: “It’s a family atmosphere. When you arrive at the stadium there are a lot of kids. Before the game there is a mascot who comes into the changing room and he asks you to sign some things for the children.

“This is unbelievable – it never happens in Italy. It’s absolutely out of the question, unthinkable.”

While Cassetti thrives on the relaxed atmosphere off the pitch, he admits the football at Watford has become more concentrated since Sannino took the helm in December.

The Hornets have swapped Zola’s free-flowing but defensively fragile template for a tighter, more mechanical outlook that has yielded five consecutive home clean sheets but a product less pleasing on the eye.

When results are good, style can easily be forgotten but Cassetti agrees defeats are doubly hard to accept if they come with men behind the ball and precious few shots on target.

“It’s the same for the players as it is for the fans,” he said. “When the results come everything is OK.

“But when the results don’t come and you play more defensively it is difficult to accept because you work a lot on the defence, they score and you lose the game without creating chances.

“When the team is just thinking to score a goal, score a goal, score a goal – it is better for the fans to watch the team than one that defends in the box and then wins the game on a counter-attack.

“But in the match against Blackpool we played very well defensively and offensively too. We were together, we played more attacking but one game is not enough, we have to do it consistently.”

Sannino has deployed Cassetti in a new role in recent matches with the Italian taking up the central position of the defensive trio rather than on the right or even wider at right wing-back.

Starting his career as a right midfielder, Cassetti jokes his age is restricting his options but the veteran has been one of Watford’s most consistent performers in recent matches.

“The manager asked me to play there against Leicester for the first time and it’s fine, it’s a little bit different but I play well there,” he said.

“He (Sannino) told me he wanted to try me in this position and wanted to see how it would go.

“It’s the first time I've played in this role – maybe I am too old to play anywhere else now – but actually maybe my experience was something he felt would be useful in that position.”

Cassetti turns 37 in May and while he loves the football in England, he leaves a wife, a 14-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter at home in Italy.

“I want to finish this season and then I will decide what to do because this is my second year I have been far away from my family,” he said.

“I have also to find out if the club want me for another year. I am certainly happy with the football but there is a time when you have to think about what you want to do after your career.”

Comments (15)

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10:54am Sat 8 Mar 14

D.unstable says...

So good to hear of players wanting to be at the club rather than ears gone by when you knew that the first half decent offer and they would be off.
So good to hear of players wanting to be at the club rather than ears gone by when you knew that the first half decent offer and they would be off. D.unstable
  • Score: 22

11:37am Sat 8 Mar 14

VOReason says...

He would have rivalled Gary Neville 15 years ago ...

Past their best but in cassetti and galli we saw two masters at work
He would have rivalled Gary Neville 15 years ago ... Past their best but in cassetti and galli we saw two masters at work VOReason
  • Score: 34

1:35pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Bush Hornet says...

I love this man
I love this man Bush Hornet
  • Score: 18

2:22pm Sat 8 Mar 14

jasonwatford says...

What a player he must have been 15 years ago...class
What a player he must have been 15 years ago...class jasonwatford
  • Score: 21

3:02pm Sat 8 Mar 14

francowatford says...

It can only be good for championship football that a respectedan a nd player like Marco is possibly speaking at Watford to his friends back home and telling them to come over and broaden your football knowledge ans experience and another football world
It can only be good for championship football that a respectedan a nd player like Marco is possibly speaking at Watford to his friends back home and telling them to come over and broaden your football knowledge ans experience and another football world francowatford
  • Score: 18

4:03pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Hornet Cornet says...

What a brilliant role model for the younger players.

Hc
What a brilliant role model for the younger players. Hc Hornet Cornet
  • Score: 33

4:18pm Sat 8 Mar 14

cliff46 says...

VOReason wrote:
He would have rivalled Gary Neville 15 years ago ...

Past their best but in cassetti and galli we saw two masters at work
I was happy to pay the entrance fee purely to watch Galli and you are right he and Cassetti together would have been fantastic.
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: He would have rivalled Gary Neville 15 years ago ... Past their best but in cassetti and galli we saw two masters at work[/p][/quote]I was happy to pay the entrance fee purely to watch Galli and you are right he and Cassetti together would have been fantastic. cliff46
  • Score: 16

4:46pm Sat 8 Mar 14

andyhooked says...

Fair play to the man. He has said before that he has set up with WFC whilst his family stayed in Italy. At least he has give fewer penalties away this season. One season more? He seems very fit. Galli was class. A few years older and not able to play every game but I feel that Galli was in a different class from Marco, but that is not knocking Cassetti in any shape or formhe is very good.
Fair play to the man. He has said before that he has set up with WFC whilst his family stayed in Italy. At least he has give fewer penalties away this season. One season more? He seems very fit. Galli was class. A few years older and not able to play every game but I feel that Galli was in a different class from Marco, but that is not knocking Cassetti in any shape or formhe is very good. andyhooked
  • Score: 8

5:26pm Sat 8 Mar 14

SAHornet says...

Nearly every result went in our favour today so really hope that we can capitalize at Donny on Tues.
Nearly every result went in our favour today so really hope that we can capitalize at Donny on Tues. SAHornet
  • Score: 18

6:13pm Sat 8 Mar 14

1234566789 says...

andyhooked wrote:
Fair play to the man. He has said before that he has set up with WFC whilst his family stayed in Italy. At least he has give fewer penalties away this season. One season more? He seems very fit. Galli was class. A few years older and not able to play every game but I feel that Galli was in a different class from Marco, but that is not knocking Cassetti in any shape or formhe is very good.
Of course he was - Galli won 5 Serie A titles and the Champions League 3 times! Absolute legend!
[quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: Fair play to the man. He has said before that he has set up with WFC whilst his family stayed in Italy. At least he has give fewer penalties away this season. One season more? He seems very fit. Galli was class. A few years older and not able to play every game but I feel that Galli was in a different class from Marco, but that is not knocking Cassetti in any shape or formhe is very good.[/p][/quote]Of course he was - Galli won 5 Serie A titles and the Champions League 3 times! Absolute legend! 1234566789
  • Score: 9

7:10pm Sat 8 Mar 14

The Family Cat says...

Future Manager without question......
Complete class act, and role model
Future Manager without question...... Complete class act, and role model The Family Cat
  • Score: 14

7:58pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Surbiton says...

With reference to the title of this article, I think I can honestly say that is also the feeling of many Orns supporters as well Marco! For sure when he does leave us, he will always receive a great reception back at the Vic.
With reference to the title of this article, I think I can honestly say that is also the feeling of many Orns supporters as well Marco! For sure when he does leave us, he will always receive a great reception back at the Vic. Surbiton
  • Score: 15

9:13am Mon 10 Mar 14

longcliffe says...

He is quite good but not good enough for the Premier.
He is quite good but not good enough for the Premier. longcliffe
  • Score: -9

10:42am Mon 10 Mar 14

danhornet says...

Love the beard
Love the beard danhornet
  • Score: 1

3:53pm Mon 10 Mar 14

longcliffe says...

Dyche is doing quite well.
Dyche is doing quite well. longcliffe
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

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