Ross Jenkins has trodden the path less travelled of late, having plied his trade in the Romanian top flight with Poli Timisoara for the past few months.

In moving to Romania back in January, Jenkins traded a commute from High Wycombe to Crawley for Eastern European city-living.

Like many of Watford’s young professionals back in 2012, Jenkins found his position within the Hornets squad suddenly change in the immediate aftermath of the Pozzo takeover.

With 80 appearances under his belt by this point – despite being just 21 years of age – initially Jenkins looked forward to the challenge that the new regime was likely to bring.

“I thought that the Italian, free-flowing, passing football that we were supposed to start playing would suit me perfectly,” Jenkins tells me, recalling his excitement at the news of the takeover and the appointment of Gianfranco Zola as head coach.

“But the amount of players that the Pozzos brought in that season threw a lot of the players out of the limelight.

“A lot of the young boys were really eager to impress, because of Zola being the new manager and everything that comes with that.

“And he was impressed with some of us, but a lot of those players that were at the club before had to move back a bit – they had to move away from the squad – so that the new players could fit in.”

Before the close of the summer transfer window of the 2012/13 season, 16 new players were brought in, a dozen of which were on loan from Udinese and Granada, the other two clubs owned by the Pozzo family.

Zola often commented to the local press at the time about the difficulty he faced incorporating the amount of players you’d usually find in two full squads, and how he would have to come up with training sessions that involved more than 40 players.

“There were a lot of players being pushed back to the reserves,” Jenkins says, “and it was hard for Zola to make a session that would fit 30-something players in.

“So it was difficult at first, but I don’t think at any point I actually thought I would be leaving Watford as soon as I did. I thought the way Zola wanted us to play would have been perfect.”

As it turned out, before the end of September, just three weeks after the summer transfer window closed, Jenkins found himself on loan at Plymouth Argyle after playing just one competitive game, a League Cup match against Bradford City.

In this game, he played alongside a host of other players who had yet to feature for Zola’s Watford. Names on the teamsheet that night included Craig Forsyth, Steve Leo Beleck, Adam Thompson, Lee Hodson and Geoffrey Mujangi Bia.

“The reason I went to Plymouth was for games,” Jenkins tells me. “We weren’t in an Under-21 league, we weren’t playing at the weekend, and it was only friendlies.

“We had to work and go somewhere to play. Gavin Massey, for example, was doing really well in training, but I don’t think he could see himself playing, so he ended up leaving pretty quickly and got himself down to Colchester.”

I ask what effect this all had on his self-confidence, or in fact whether he was annoyed at some of the new faces that had come in and seemingly taken his place in the squad.

“Obviously there was the likes of Joel Ekstrand, Dan Pudil, [Fernando] Forestieri, Almen Abdi, Ikechi Anya… These players, you could tell, could play in the Championship.

“But there were a lot of players who maybe thought they were a bit too good for what the Championship was, or they came from a bigger club and weren’t really bothered about training or going to the gym.

“They’d been moved to Watford and some of them didn’t want to be there, which frustrated the boys who were already there, because in some cases we were getting frozen out by people who didn’t even want to be at the club.”

Having spoken to a number of players who were at the club at the time of the Pozzo takeover, I note that Jenkins is the first to have expressed such negative thoughts about this period of transition.

“I don’t think anyone was ‘anti-Watford’,” he tells me in response. “Obviously the ones I mentioned and more fitted in really well, and they slotted in with how the club was set up, but many of them needed more time to adapt and understand the situation so they weren’t really doing it in training.

“I’m talking about a handful of people,” Jenkins says. “I’m by no means talking about all of them.”

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Clearly, there is some sadness and frustration that lingers about this time in Jenkins’ career. I wonder, then, how he deals with this period, and whether he believes any person or group of people are culpable for his drop in standing in the squad. Could he have done anything more for himself, I wonder aloud.

“For me the most frustrating thing was that I only played one game,” he said. “They never really gave me the chance to play with these other players that they brought in.

“I personally think that I wasn’t given a fair shot. A lot of other players did get a few appearances but I only got the one.

“I think if I was given four or five games to play with the new players, in the new style and with the new tactics, and they still said no, then I would have thought that that was fair enough.”

What really shines through is Jenkins’ backing of himself. His experience of rising up through the youth and reserve team ranks as a teenager has given the Watford-born midfielder a belief in his ability that comes across as strong and mindful – a long way from arrogance.

Throughout his reflections on that crucial period in his Watford career, Jenkins refuses to blame a single person, but instead seems to suggest that what happened to him was a result of a set of circumstances and new methods.

“I don’t know where the decision to keep me away from the first team came from,” he explains. “The feeling that I got back from Zola and the staff was that they weren’t the only ones making the changes to the squad.

“It wouldn’t have been fair to kick up a fuss or anything like that with them because it was difficult for them too.

“It was difficult to gel everyone together and they had a big task on their hands.

“I had a really good relationship with Zola, we got on well. It was just a really frustrating time overall though.”

Reflecting on his career in a yellow shirt as a whole though, Jenkins has nothing but positive memories.

He particularly enjoyed working with Malky Mackay at reserve level, and was actually given his debut by the Scot early in the 2008/09 season away at Barnsley.

“Malky was the one that gave me my chance,” he tells me. “Under Brendan [Rodgers] though I played a lot of games at a young age.”

Jenkins jokes about “the glory days,” when he and Jack Cork, on loan from Chelsea, formed a young but formidable partnership in the middle of midfield under Rodgers.

It has now however been a number of years since Jenkins has visited Vicarage Road or the training ground at London Colney, and in this time the landscape has changed quite dramatically.

“I haven’t been since they’ve built the new stand,” he tells me. “It would be really good to pop back and see some old faces.”

And despite Jenkins’ dreadful choice of Manchester United as his boyhood club growing up, he has more recently seen the light with regards to his allegiances.

“When I played for Watford, I wasn’t really a Watford fan so to speak – you don’t really look at things like that,” he says. “But now that I’ve left, I try and keep up with them as much as possible.

“The news, who’s playing, the results… everything. If they’re on TV I always try to watch them, and I check their results weekly.

“I follow them more than United!”

There is a pause.

“Watford is sort of all I know,” Jenkins says, a little restrained. “I was there since I was nine.”

In the end it didn’t turn out the way Jenkins had planned at the club he grew up playing for. But he’s stronger for the experience, and is looking to move onto bigger and better things after playing in a different environment in Romania.

To read more about Jenkins’ experience playing in Romania this season, and to find out about where he sees himself moving to next, visit