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Watford boss Gianfranco Zola delighted with progress of Tommie Hoban
Watford’s head coach believes there is much more to come from Tommie Hoban after the teenage defender’s impressive last few weeks continued by leading Republic of Ireland’s Under-19s into the elite qualifying phase of the European Championships.
Having made his full club debut at Huddersfield Town at the end of last month, and then scoring his first goal in the 2-1 win at Charlton Athletic, Hoban broke his international duck in his country’s 5-2 victory over Luxembourg on Thursday.
The 18-year-old also skippered the Irish to a 1-0 win over Macedonia two days later to ensure his country reached the next phase of the competition, before dropping to the bench as his team-mates came from two behind to impressively draw 2-2 with group winners Germany on Tuesday.
“Tommie is another product from our excellent Academy,” said Gianfranco Zola. “I’m very complimentary about the Academy, they’ve done a great job and I’m pleased Tommie is playing and he’s improving and now he’s scoring for his own country as well, so it’s all good.”
The Hornets boss added with a smile: “It's a pity that he didn’t score against Middlesbrough because he had a big opportunity but he’s progressing and doing very well.”
For a player to captain their country at any age group is a compliment to the individual and Zola remarked: “It is but he reflects the personality of the boy. He came in for a difficult game away at Huddersfield and he looked like he was a veteran.
“He’s a good player and in my opinion, with Tommie Hoban you can only see the top of the iceberg. I think he’s got much more to give and much more to improve.”