Gabriele Angella has spoken fondly of seeing his former club scaling new heights, since he helped them gain promotion to the Premier League.

The Italian, who currently plays his football with Serie B club Perugia, has kept a close eye on the Hornets since his departure and has been impressed with the talent they are now attracting to Vicarage Road.

“The club has grown exponentially since securing promotion, it’s incredible what they did," he said.

"They have signed players that would have been beyond them and unthinkable before. I am not lying, it would have been nice to be there and play with some of the players who played there and still play there now.

“Then, of course, it is difficult to say if I could have played with these kind of players or not because I never got the chance to do so, but it would have been nice to measure myself against them.

“But fate had other ideas and wanted my career to embark on a different path, yet I hold no grudges against anyone.”

Angella feels that he has unfinished business at Watford and his hopes of one day sealing a return to Vicarage Road have not completely died although he acknowledges that the chances to do so are remote.

“Watford is the club of my life. They gave me the platform and opportunity to play week-in, week-out. As a result of their trust in me I managed to demonstrate my value there.

“The Watford supporters always acclaimed and lionized me and will always be in my heart.

“I don’t think that there are many players around who can say that they had their own fan chant like I had at Watford. Fans serenaded me at each and every game.

“I am sorry that I could not stay on because I was really very happy at Watford.

“The club, the Pozzo family and the fans will therefore always have a special place in my heart.

“If one day Watford knock on my door I would of course go back. For me it’s a dream. But at the same time I don’t believe in fairy tales. It’s tough, if not impossible and I am realistic about it.

“My only focus now is on what I have to do the next day and I am fully concentrated on my current club Perugia in the hope that the coronavirus crisis will be resolved soon. I hope the season resumes but football is only of secondary importance in testing times like this, people’s health is more important.”

Despite leaving Hertfordshire five years ago now, Angella remains in contact with a number of his former Watford team-mates, including current squad members Troy Deeney and Heurelho Gomes.

“I am still in touch with the Italian guys [Gianni] Munari, [Marco] Motta and Hungarian [Daniel] Tozser but not that often. The ones I am closest to are [Almen] Abdi and Gomes. With Heurelho we text message once or twice a year to ask each other how we do etc.

“With Troy, we occasionally talk on Instagram and exchange Tweets, but that’s it.”

Another of his team-mates who is also still playing in the Premier League is Odion Ighalo, who like Angella played an important role in that promotion-winning campaign.

Despite the fact that the Nigerian forward had been playing in China for over two years, Angella had no doubts that his friend would hit the ground running at Old Trafford and he was pleased to see his erstwhile colleague seal such a big move.

“My pal Ighalo managed to return to England with Manchester United and fair play to him," he said.

“Odion is a proven goalscorer with a fantastic goal record. Wherever he has been, whether that was the Championship, Premier League or Chinese Super League, he always scored goals.

“I am so happy for him because he is an exceptional lad and deserves credit for the devastating impact he has made at Manchester United since joining from China. He is such a humble person and I wish him nothing but the best."