Watford have appointed Spanish orthapaedic surgeon Emilio Lopez-Vidriero as their new medical director.

The club has moved to replace summer recruit Gavin Benjafield, whose short-lived spell at Vicarage Road ended more than two months ago, with a high-profile name in his native Spain.

Dr Lopez-Vidriero has recently worked with various regional sporting sides in Andalusia, a southern region of Spain, but has previously worked on high-profile tennis tournaments including Davis Cup and the Madrid Masters, as well as with numerous individuals from the world of football.

He told the club website: "From a fellowship in Pittsburgh, USA, at one of the most important sports medicine centres in the world, to working with the revered Dr Cugat in Barcelona, where many of the world’s top football players have been treated, I have been able to construct my own clinic using the best experiences from around the world.”

The belief in the doctor's work was shared by CEO and chairman Scott Duxbury, who appeared to acknowledge the club bore some responsibility for the unacceptable number of injuries suffered in recent years.

He said: “A specialist doctor will now oversee the process of getting us back to where we should be in terms of player care and treatment.

"The days of the senior physio running onto the pitch and then having the sole responsibility for making all of the key decisions around the training ground are past.
“We expect a brighter future for our medical work moving forward, and take great comfort from Dr Emilio’s years of top-level experience.”

Dr Lopez-Vidriero will be given the freedom to appoint further members of his backroom staff as he sees fit, the club confirmed, and said in a fairly accusatory statement that his first injury update, to be released next week, would paint a "more positive picture than has been recently portrayed".

He has already made clear his remit will not stop at simply bringing Watford's eight first-team absentees back to fitness, but ensuring the kind of injury problems which have dogged the club over the past 18 months are not repeated.

"I’ve joined Watford because it is clear I can have a positive influence over the short-term and the long-term,” he added.

"It is still early and there is a lot to be assessed but the positive messages are about the good amount of resource, both human and technical, that can be used and developed.

"As everyone understands, it is not only about the treatment of injured players, to fight the fires so to speak which I am here to do of course, but also to establish the best injury prevention programme in the sport.”