Watford’s players are no longer able to rely on their reputations to get them a place in the starting 11 under head coach Nigel Pearson, according to goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The Hornets’ shot-stopper said the new boss has little regard for players’ past achievements and instead is simply interested in how they are performing now.

Foster also claims that prior to Pearson’s arrival, players were able to retain their places in the team, irrespective of their form, but insists that is no longer the case.

“We haven’t had it and that is no disrespect to Javi [Gracia] and Quique [Sanchez Flores] because they have got their own style and it is each to their own,” he said.

“But he (Pearson) does not care, he doesn’t care who you are, what you have done in the game, his standards are high and if anybody falls short of that standard then you are going to know about it. It makes everybody go: ‘Wow, I am going to have to do this properly now’. It is amazing the difference it makes.

“It’s almost like you’re dealing with school kids at times. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile and this manager will not give you half an inch, he doesn’t accept anything. His standards are there and that’s it, it’s black and white, if you fall short then you’re the one that’s going to fall on your sword.

“You have players who had got so comfortable in the team that even if they have a bad run of games for three or four games they’re still guaranteed to play. The manager’s said: ‘I don’t care who you are, if you lower your standards, if your performances aren’t good enough on the pitch, I will leave you out. I’ll go on form and what I’ve seen in training’ and at the end of the day he’s got to pick a team for whichever game we’re playing to win that game and that’s all he cares about, which is how it should be.”

Foster is one of a number of players to have seen an improvement in form under the new coach and as a result, has been nominated for two player of the month awards.

Nevertheless, the keeper said he is not interested in picking up personal praise and is much happier seeing his team-mates working together to avoid relegation.

“You’ve got no chance of winning it as a goalie, absolutely zero chance,” he said of the awards.

“It doesn’t bother me, at the minute for me as long as we’re winning games and getting ourselves out the trouble, that’s all the achievement you need. It’s not nice when you finish games, you got up to see your family and my little boy is going, ‘Oh you lost again, dad.’

“That for me is massive, just even the atmosphere around the training ground, it’s so much better, it’s such a nicer work environment to come in and be a part of and everybody’s on the same page now which is massive because when you’re struggling it’s almost like bacteria, you start getting two people break off, that will multiply into four and then all of a sudden you get cliques going everywhere and it’s not a nice place to be. When you’re losing games, then towels get chucked in, not on the pitch but in people’s heads, white flags go up and it’s human nature. When chips are down you struggle, you step back into your shell a little bit and the position we’re in, we need players to be really jumping out of their shells and doing everything and showing what they can do.”