Andy Hessenthaler has openly admitted that it would be a ‘dream’ to manage Watford one day.

The Hornets are currently on the hunt for a new head coach following the sacking of Nigel Pearson, with former Under 23 boss Hayden Mullins currently in charge on an interim basis.

The former Watford midfielder admits it is not a realistic target just yet, with him currently in charge of National League side Dover Athletic, but he does have his sights on a job at the top end of English football.

“Yes, it would be an unbelievable dream to manage Watford, without doubt”, Hessenthaler admitted.

“Obviously I would love to manage Watford and in the Premier League but at the moment I have to be realistic. I have managed in League Two, League One and Championship and I’d love to get there. I want to have an opportunity to manage at league level.

“If Watford is my Holy Grail? Yes, obviously it’s a dream. The Holy Grail is trying to get back into the league’s football, whether that is with Dover or with another club."

Hessenthaler believes he is the wrong side of 50 to be in contention for top flight jobs at the moment, as well as English sides' propensity for hiring foreign coaches.

“Nowadays it’s hard for a British to get a chance in the Premier League because it’s a younger market now," he said. "I am 54 now and I have been fortunate to manage in every league other than the Premier League but I think the trend is more about younger coaches now.

“Besides, there’s a lot of foreign coaches coming in and they are good coaches but there are also some good English coaches in the Premier League."

One English coach who had impressed Hessenthaler was Pearson, who had taken Watford from the brink of relegation to within touching distance of safety.

Prior to his sacking, the former Watford midfielder said he believed the club will stay up due to the work of the recently-removed coach.

“Nigel has done fantastic, he has had a good spell and in all honesty I think Watford are gonna stay up," he said. "I follow Watford every weekend. Every weekend that’s the results that I look for because they gave me my opportunity in the professional game and I still have some contacts (with fellow former Watford players). Nigel Gibbs, who is Mister Watford, is a good friend of mine. And I also speak to Luther Blissett. My heart is still at Watford.”

As a footballer, Hessenthaler played into his fifth decade and was 44 years and 9 months old when he finally decided to bring the curtain down on his career.

The fact that he played until May 2010 made him not only one of the oldest players to ever turn professional at 26 in 1991 but also to appear in a competitive game.

Having peaked so late in his career, Hessenthaler left no stone unturned in his desire to make up for lost time.

“I think you are a long time retired and I always felt that if you are keeping fit, if you are keeping your desire and hunger to play football, you should just play as long as you can and I’d say that to any player," he said.

“I also think that because I came into the game quite late, I appreciated what I got and I didn’t want to give that up after a short period.

“I was also fortunate with injuries and didn’t have many and that’s what really drove me on to carry on playing. But the main reason was probably because I came into the game so late.

“Look at Ian Wright, he also came out of non-league. He played for Greenwich Borough then for Arsenal and he was already 21-22 when he turned pro and retired late.

“Because you appreciate what you got you just wanna keep it as long as you can and play as long as you can. It wasn’t a case of not knowing what I was gonna do after packing up playing, but a case of ‘I just loved playing’."

A large number of footballers struggle to adapt to ‘normal’ life after retiring as the loss of identity, income and occupation are hard to deal with.

“That’s why I always say to play as long as you can because there is nothing better than playing football”, Hessenthaler said.

“If someone asks me today to go and play in a game tomorrow I will be there, I will be playing.

“Even to this day I still think about how much I miss playing and I did go through a period when I missed it so much.

“But I think I was one of the fortunate ones that occupied his mind with going into coaching and therefore I never had any mental health issues. My mind was always occupied by playing or coaching but I do understand why retired footballers miss it or have mental health problems because it is tough...”