It's been a difficult three years for Heurelho Gomes but at Watford he has found a club where he is happy again.
During the summer of 2011, Gomes went from being Tottenham Hotspur’s first choice goalkeeper to watching on from the sidelines.
First Brad Friedel arrived and then, one year later, French international Hugo Lloris was signed. Gomes was Spurs’ third option.
He knew he wouldn’t play for the club but wasn’t able to leave White Hart Lane as a transfer couldn’t be agreed.
So he waited for his contract to expire, which happened at the end of June. A move to Watford had been agreed in May and was completed on July 1. The former Brazilian international is now looking forward to being a club’s number one goalkeeper again.
“That’s why I am here,” the 33-year-old said. “I want to help the club achieve what they want but I also just want to play matches.
“I am feeling very good at the moment. Tottenham was a difficult period for me. I had a spell in Germany when I played some games in the Bundesliga and did well but came back and still wasn’t involved.
“I didn’t have the chance to play and when my contract came to an end in June Watford was a great option.
“It’s close to London and my family are very settled there. So now I am looking forward to having a good season with Watford.”
Gomes played just 14 competitive matches between July 2011 and the end of the previous campaign.
Five of those were with Spurs while the other nine came at Hoffenheim. He admits the lack of football was difficult and was frustrated in his attempts to leave Spurs.
“It wasn’t easy mentally,” Gomes explained. “I tried to move a few times and the chairman (Daniel Levy) blocked it. It is in the past now and behind me though. I am just focused on my new club.”
And his new club is focused on challenging for promotion from the Championship. Gomes is one of nine signings made by the Hornets this summer as they bid to reach the Premier League.
Troy Deeney’s future remains unclear but if Watford are able to keep together their current squad, Gomes believes the Golden Boys are capable of challenging for a spot at the top of the table.
He said: “We have quality in the dressing room but now we have to put that on the pitch. The Championship is a tough league, it’s one that I’ve never played in before but I’ve spoken to the guys and seen games on the TV. So it won’t be easy.
“But we have a good squad and the support of the club. So I believe we can challenge for promotion.”
Gomes returned to pre-season training slightly later than the majority of the squad but linked up with his teammates on the Hornets’ pre-season training camp in Italy and Austria.
He said he quickly settled into the squad and believes the Watford players are “happy people”.
He explained: “The lads and the club have made me feel very welcome. I am enjoying working with goalkeeper coaches Paolo De Toffol and Chambo (Alec Chamberlain).
“The work we’ve done has been great so far and hopefully we can achieve what we want at the end of the season.”
He continued: “The lads are great and I like that. They are very happy people and so am I. I like to make a joke in the right situations, there are of course times when you have to be serious, but I am happy and feeling easy amongst the squad. It’s a good time for me.”
At Spurs, Gomes worked under Spaniard Juande Ramos, Englishman Harry Redknapp and Portuguese boss André Villas-Boas.
At Vicarage Road he has encountered a “different type of manager” in the animated Italian Beppe Sannino.
The Hornets’ head coach’s passion is evident from his behaviour on the touchline; he often strays from his technical area and is very animated during matches.
“He likes to talk and likes to talk to the team on the pitch,” Gomes said with a smile. “I am getting to know him better and he is the first Italian coach I’ve worked with.
“He has his own style and is a bit different in the way he wants the team to play. I am really enjoying it here.”