Dave Hughes says Watford will always have a place in his heart after it was confirmed the Hornets youth coach is leaving the club to take up a full-time position with the Football Association of Wales.
Hughes joined the Golden Boys in September 2011 and played a part in the development of several first team players, including Tommie Hoban, Sean Murray and Luke O'Nien.
The 36-year-old, who was hired as Wales' Under-19 manager on a part-time basis two years ago, will become the Welsh FA's assistant intermediate manager for the Under-17s to Under-21s age group.
Hughes was in the dugout for Watford's Under-21 side’s 4-3 pre-season friendly defeat against Hemel Hempstead Town this evening.
Speaking about his decision to leave the Hornets, which will take place next week, Hughes explained: “Watford for me is a fantastic football club and the reason it is a fantastic club is because of the people that work here.
“I will always carry with me real positive thoughts of the people I’ve worked with and the players I’ve worked with.
“Watford has a history of producing well rounded individuals with really good ability and I am sure that will continue.
“I will follow the club’s progress and the players' progress and will constantly be on the phone with the staff to keep tabs on the players.
“Watford has been a huge part of my life in the last three years and I have met some great people here. I will always have a place in my heart for Watford.”
When Hughes arrived at Vicarage Road the club, partly due to financial reasons, relied heavily on their Academy to develop first-team players.
That has changed somewhat following the Pozzos’ takeover but the youth coach says if a player is good enough and works hard enough, then he will get an opportunity in the first team.
Hughes said: “If you look at last year, Alex Jakubiak had a fantastic season for the youth team and then made his debut for the first team.
“Josh Doherty also made his debut in the first team, as did Bernard Mensah and Luke O’Nien – they have all come through the Academy.
“We have high hopes for the players in the Academy and good players will always get an opportunity.
“Nobody gives you that. You have to be a good player and earn it and the lads are aware of that.
“Development takes time and if players are good enough at any club in the country then they will be given an opportunity.”