Beppe Sannino has said in the past that Luke O’Nien “lives his life for Watford”. So it can’t be easy for the young midfielder as he waits to find out if the Hornets will offer him new deal.
From my own experience, O’Nien conducts himself incredibly well and is someone, as an Academy product, the club should be proud of.
He obviously has an emotional attachment with Watford. However, if caring for the club was all that mattered then everyone in the Rookery would have had a stint with the Hornets.
Sentiment doesn’t have much bearing in football and it’s still to be seen if the young prospect can deliver on the pitch.
Personally, I hope O’Nien does get another deal with Watford. Not just because he’s a likeable personality but because his presence paves the way for more Academy graduates to actually ‘make it’ at the club.
As we know, the Harefield Academy partnership with Watford was, and still is, a pioneering system which for a long time was the envy of many clubs.
In the past, the long term stability of Watford was based on the success of the Academy.
And our academy graduates should continue to be at the core of the club - just in case our current, seemingly reliable, owners decide to leave and take with them important members of our squad.
O’Nien’s possible departure wouldn’t mean the end for our scholars coming through but it may start an unfortunate trend of talented youngsters failing to make the grade due to an overcrowded Hornets squad.
And what a waste it would be for our Academy scheme to go to waste. It’s sad to think Luke and many others may not get their chance and the Academy could lose its influence.
Keeping O’Nien adds another young home grown prospect to the playing squad and would, once again, fully endorse the functionality of the Academy.
I hope O’Nien doesn’t become yet another Academy statistic and goes on to make a genuine impression at the club.