There were very few positives to take out of Watford’s awful showing in their last game of the season against Huddersfield Town on Saturday but one was the senior emergence of two more players from the club’s Academy.
Having been an unused substitute in the previous two games, Alex Jakubiak made his full debut and the striker went close to scoring twice in the opening five minutes, shooting wide before he forced a good save out of Terriers keeper Alex Smithies.
Like most of his teammates, the 17-year-old’s influence on proceedings faded as the game progressed and he was replaced after 56 minutes by Davide Faraoni.
Jakubiak had become the 55th Academy player to make his Hornets first-team debut and number 56 followed later in the game when Northern Ireland youth international Josh Doherty replaced Cristian Battocchio.
Asked if he was pleased with Jakubiak’s debut, Beppe Sannino said: “He is a guy that deserved to play and I’d like to give the reward also to the people that work in the Academy in terms of coaching staff but don’t forget also Doherty. I was very pleased with both them. I don’t know if you saw but Josh wanted to take the penalty. It means he’s a guy with a big personality.”
Watford were 3-0 down when Doherty replaced Battocchio with ten minutes remaining. Sannino has said in the past he is reluctant to blood youngsters in difficult circumstances but he explained: “As I said it’s a good reward for the lads and the people that work every day behind me but today when I played Doherty, the game was running down and I thought he could have a good moment on the pitch and I am pleased with him because he did very well.”
In giving debuts to the two Academy youngsters, it meant Watford used 39 different players at first-team level this season.