Beppe Sannino expects Albert Riera to improve to meet the demands of the Championship but says the Spaniard, who played in the Champions League earlier this season, will bring valuable experience to Watford.

The 31-year-old signed with the Hornets last Thursday and made his debut as a 62nd minute substitute in the 4-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Riera’s deal with Watford runs until the end of the campaign. Udinese have confirmed the former Spanish international will join them in July but we understand there is a good chance the player could remain with Watford next season if all parties agree.

And Sannino has been impressed with the former Liverpool and Manchester City winger.

He said: “Riera is a fantastic player with a lot of experience and only a few months ago he was playing in the Champions League.

“The Championship is another division and you need to run a lot on the pitch. It is two months since he last played a match so I am expecting him to improve.

“I can tell you since he joined the club he showed a great commitment and a great spirit.”

Prior to joining Watford, Riera turned out for Roberto Mancini’s Galatasaray.

He joined the Turkish club for just under £2.5m in 2011 and had made 13 appearances this season including in the Champions League ties against Real Madrid and Juventus.

He left Galatasaray in January and was linked with a move to Premier League club West Bromwich Albion before signing with the Hornets.