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Former Institute FC goalkeeper Nathan Gartside makes unofficial Watford debut after joining Hornets
Two goalkeepers had their first Watford run-outs on Saturday in the 1-0 friendly win against SK Austria Klagenfurt. Heurelho Gomes, a Brazilian international, needs little introduction but very few Hornets fans will know his 79th-minute replacement Nathan Gartside.
The 16-year-old, who is a Northern Ireland youth international, is believed to have signed a two-year scholarship with the Hornets after impressing on trial.
Gartside previously played for Northern Irish semi-professional side Institute FC who are based in the Drumahoe area of Derry.
Speaking about the move to Watford the young goalkeeper told the Derry Daily: “When I was offered the contract I was absolutely buzzing, it’s a dream to be offered a scholarship contract with an English club.
“Going to a club like Watford and having full-time quality training will also help my international career, but it also means a bigger step up for me, and it’s one I can’t wait for.”
He may have only been on the pitch for 11 minutes but it appears the youngster has impressed Troy Deeney, who was watching the game from the stands alongside Ikechi Anya, Bernard Mensah and George Byers.
The striker tweeted: "Young pup Nathan has come on in goal I'm rating this lad only 16 but handles himself well."
Deeney then followed that up with a picture of Gartside, which is below.