Watford defender Lee Hodson looking to rediscover last season's form

Watford Observer: Hodson: 'Doesn’t matter where I play as long as I can do a job for the team and the gaffer'. Picture: Action Images Hodson: 'Doesn’t matter where I play as long as I can do a job for the team and the gaffer'. Picture: Action Images

Lee Hodson admitted he has been suffering from a dip of form recently but is hoping the improved performance at Doncaster Rovers will help him return to the high standards he sets himself.

The defender described last season as a “dream come true” after making an impressive 34 appearances while still a second-year scholar.

But after losing his place to experienced Middlesbrough loanee Andrew Taylor, Hodson did not feature for more than three months between October and January.

The full-back has returned to the starting line-up for the last eight games but by his own admission, has struggled to regain the form which made him a trusted first-team regular during the 2009/10 season.

“In the first season, I set myself quite high standards,” Hodson said.

“I came out of the side for a bit [this season] and wasn’t playing as much and I haven’t started playing to my full potential again.

“It is hard to come out of the side for a few months and then start playing again but I have taken it as a big learning curve because I am still young.

“Obviously I was disappointed but I was watching experienced players playing in my position, so I can take a lot from them and hopefully try and bring that into my game.

“I don’t think there is a second-season syndrome or anything like that but every player has a dip in form and that is what I have been going through lately – a dip in form and consistency. Hopefully I can now bring it back up to the level I know I can play at.”

Hodson has had some disappointing displays in the past month but has also enjoyed a couple of very strong performances.

He impressed in the away games at Reading and Doncaster but when asked if he had been affected by any negativity from the fans at Vicarage Road, he said he “doesn’t really hear the crowd” during games and, “like most players, tries to block it out”.

Hodson believes he had a “much better game” against Doncaster and said: “The last few matches have not gone well for me but they are in the past now and I have to get on with it.

“I just thought to myself on Saturday, ‘I know I have had some bad games but go out there and play your best, no pressure, just believe in yourself and do what you did last season’.

“So I went out there and tried to do everything simple, so my first thought was to defend and I went from there. The more I got into the game, the more my confidence grew and I relaxed a bit more.

“Hopefully I can kick on from Saturday and get back to how I was playing last season.”

Hodson made his Watford debut as a first-year scholar in the final game of the 2008/09 season under former manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 19-year-old is a right-back but due to the return of Taylor and injuries to Lloyd Doyley, has been used on the left in recent weeks.

“It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I can do a job for the team and the gaffer, that is all that matters to me,” Hodson said.

“I am not used to playing left-back but playing there will make me a better player and hopefully I can gain valuable experience.”

He continued: “In the youth team and the Reserves I did play left-back a bit at Under-15s and Under-16s level, so it is not a completely foreign position to me but it is very different.

“I am a right-footed player and now I am having to use my left a bit more. Getting used to opening out with my left foot is the hardest part because normally, as a right-footed player, I would naturally cut inside.

“I need to have that confidence to start playing through balls and passing with it a bit more as the more I use it, the more natural it will become.”

It is easy to forget Hodson is technically still a first-year professional and in the same age group as the likes of Piero Mingoia, particularly considering the Northern Ireland international made his 50th appearance for Watford last month.

But the Academy graduate is adamant he will not rest on his laurels.

Hodson said: “Like I said to you last year, I didn’t expect to be brought into the side as quickly as I did last season. There were a few injuries and players left so I got given my chance.

“I knew it was a short-term thing but I wanted to prove myself and luckily I took my chances last season and played 34 games, which was like a dream come true for me because I never expected it to happen as quickly as it did.

“Making 50-odd appearances at 19 is way past my expectations because I would still be classed as a first-year pro now.

“I have done well to have played so many games but I want to kick-on further, play more games and keep improving.

“Hopefully this is just the start for me and I will keep working hard. There is a lot of hard work needed because this is the age, 19 or 20, when a lot of young players do fade out.”

Comments (13)

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4:15pm Fri 4 Mar 11

dukehornet says...

I am no big fan of young Hodson, but he did play well at Donny, and by heavens, we certainly need him at the moment!
With Doyley, Eustace, McGinn and others still out, we have such a threadbare squad, that Hodson is a godsend at present!
Good job we have a decent forward line to worry Millwall tomorrow, otherwise we would be looking down the barrell of a certain defeat.
I think we have enough fire power to get a draw, but I am hoping for all 3 points, and our first "double" of the season!
I am no big fan of young Hodson, but he did play well at Donny, and by heavens, we certainly need him at the moment! With Doyley, Eustace, McGinn and others still out, we have such a threadbare squad, that Hodson is a godsend at present! Good job we have a decent forward line to worry Millwall tomorrow, otherwise we would be looking down the barrell of a certain defeat. I think we have enough fire power to get a draw, but I am hoping for all 3 points, and our first "double" of the season! dukehornet

4:17pm Fri 4 Mar 11

fatchap says...

Would like to see him do well but sadly think he aint got it. Will cost us badly.
Would like to see him do well but sadly think he aint got it. Will cost us badly. fatchap

4:35pm Fri 4 Mar 11

watters84 says...

On a personal level the young man comes across as decent modest and a credit to his profession. The problem i have and sadly feel will remain is that despite looking ok on the ball in games, he lacks the quality or maybe its the physicality to handle wide players who carry a threat. He will always show to reasonable effect against a team where he doesn't have to close down a winger.
On a personal level the young man comes across as decent modest and a credit to his profession. The problem i have and sadly feel will remain is that despite looking ok on the ball in games, he lacks the quality or maybe its the physicality to handle wide players who carry a threat. He will always show to reasonable effect against a team where he doesn't have to close down a winger. watters84

4:44pm Fri 4 Mar 11

dukehornet says...

watters84 wrote:
On a personal level the young man comes across as decent modest and a credit to his profession. The problem i have and sadly feel will remain is that despite looking ok on the ball in games, he lacks the quality or maybe its the physicality to handle wide players who carry a threat. He will always show to reasonable effect against a team where he doesn't have to close down a winger.
Okay Watters, we all agree with you in the main, but give the young lad a break!
We are desperately short of defenders at present, especially at LB!
He played well at Donny last week, and we need him to play well tomorrow if we are to get a result against the resurgent Lions!
[quote][p][bold]watters84[/bold] wrote: On a personal level the young man comes across as decent modest and a credit to his profession. The problem i have and sadly feel will remain is that despite looking ok on the ball in games, he lacks the quality or maybe its the physicality to handle wide players who carry a threat. He will always show to reasonable effect against a team where he doesn't have to close down a winger.[/p][/quote]Okay Watters, we all agree with you in the main, but give the young lad a break! We are desperately short of defenders at present, especially at LB! He played well at Donny last week, and we need him to play well tomorrow if we are to get a result against the resurgent Lions! dukehornet

4:47pm Fri 4 Mar 11

WFC4ever says...

Well at least he admitted the current form hasn't been good which is positive in a way although its different talking about it and then going onto the pitch maybe with doubts and fears of making a mistake.

I do think he'd be a decent right back but Thompson has broken through now in that position and ofcourse there is Doyley who is probably the best defender behind Taylor at the club....

It has to be said whilst we might not have defended well all season the forward guys have missed a fair few chances in recent games.

Even against Burnley and Bristol City we had enough efforts to get something...
Well at least he admitted the current form hasn't been good which is positive in a way although its different talking about it and then going onto the pitch maybe with doubts and fears of making a mistake. I do think he'd be a decent right back but Thompson has broken through now in that position and ofcourse there is Doyley who is probably the best defender behind Taylor at the club.... It has to be said whilst we might not have defended well all season the forward guys have missed a fair few chances in recent games. Even against Burnley and Bristol City we had enough efforts to get something... WFC4ever

5:03pm Fri 4 Mar 11

rookerynook says...

Stick with it, Lee, and good luck for tomorrow. All the real fans are right behind you - ignore the rest.
Stick with it, Lee, and good luck for tomorrow. All the real fans are right behind you - ignore the rest. rookerynook

8:43pm Fri 4 Mar 11

brianwfc says...

Correct rookerynook these 'Boys' need our support...They are our future like it or not and will prove to be excellant players with our support.
Correct rookerynook these 'Boys' need our support...They are our future like it or not and will prove to be excellant players with our support. brianwfc

9:08pm Fri 4 Mar 11

There was only one Scully says...

Its encouragement and support these young lads need.
We were all once in a similar position in our respective careers and the name of the game is to put up with what we have available and move on. The knockers on here should remember we are on a journey that delivers talent and this season we have seen the fruits of this.
Hodson, Thompson, Witchellow, Jenkins etc are the future.
Its encouragement and support these young lads need. We were all once in a similar position in our respective careers and the name of the game is to put up with what we have available and move on. The knockers on here should remember we are on a journey that delivers talent and this season we have seen the fruits of this. Hodson, Thompson, Witchellow, Jenkins etc are the future. There was only one Scully

10:48pm Fri 4 Mar 11

BatmanandRobin says...

I blame Malky, a good manager wouldn't have stuck him in and left him to hang himself . He has been shocking, but Malky is to blame

A strong Manager / Leader has the balls to drop players low in confidence ......

"Hodson for Island"
I blame Malky, a good manager wouldn't have stuck him in and left him to hang himself . He has been shocking, but Malky is to blame A strong Manager / Leader has the balls to drop players low in confidence ...... "Hodson for Island" BatmanandRobin

11:16pm Fri 4 Mar 11

mattymashup says...

the lad has shown a lot of maturity by admitting he has had a dip in form. Its not easy for a player to play good football after not playing for a while. He just needs to keep working on the basics and get his confidence back. Fair play to him for coming out to the press and being honest. The least we can do is support him.
the lad has shown a lot of maturity by admitting he has had a dip in form. Its not easy for a player to play good football after not playing for a while. He just needs to keep working on the basics and get his confidence back. Fair play to him for coming out to the press and being honest. The least we can do is support him. mattymashup

2:09am Sat 5 Mar 11

JeffHornet says...

I don't believe he "blocks out the crowd" we need to get behind our players and I think that we have the sort of atmosphere that creates players unrest so they don't play the ball they would do or they wouldn't shoot when they would do just because of the nature of us fans. Usually there is no noise until we are near the opposing penalty area and then we play the wrong ball there is a huge groan. Not sure if this is a creative feedback but it is one I have picked up on, thoughts?
I don't believe he "blocks out the crowd" we need to get behind our players and I think that we have the sort of atmosphere that creates players unrest so they don't play the ball they would do or they wouldn't shoot when they would do just because of the nature of us fans. Usually there is no noise until we are near the opposing penalty area and then we play the wrong ball there is a huge groan. Not sure if this is a creative feedback but it is one I have picked up on, thoughts? JeffHornet

8:57am Sat 5 Mar 11

WFC4ever says...

BatmanandRobin wrote:
I blame Malky, a good manager wouldn't have stuck him in and left him to hang himself . He has been shocking, but Malky is to blame A strong Manager / Leader has the balls to drop players low in confidence ...... "Hodson for Island"
TBF Malky has tried to get a left back in at least 3 times..unless you think he is not telling the truth?

Ofcourse Doyley would be playing there if he wasn't injured...
[quote][p][bold]BatmanandRobin[/bold] wrote: I blame Malky, a good manager wouldn't have stuck him in and left him to hang himself . He has been shocking, but Malky is to blame A strong Manager / Leader has the balls to drop players low in confidence ...... "Hodson for Island"[/p][/quote]TBF Malky has tried to get a left back in at least 3 times..unless you think he is not telling the truth? Ofcourse Doyley would be playing there if he wasn't injured... WFC4ever

6:18pm Sat 5 Mar 11

Solid Defence says...

We are behind you Lee. Dont listen to some on the people on here. You were back on form today.
We are behind you Lee. Dont listen to some on the people on here. You were back on form today. Solid Defence

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