Here’s a question for you. How much do you know about the English Football League regulation 33.8, found in section 5 of their long list of rules?

I might be wrong, but my guess is very little or, more likely, nothing at all. I have to confess I had no idea about it until I met with Watford chairman Scott Duxbury, who introduced me to this one-sentence regulation in the EFL’s many, many pages of dictat, wedged in between ‘Replacement of Injured Players’ and ‘Numbering of Shirts’.

Why is regulation 33.8 so important? Well it has a direct and very telling bearing on the players that a Championship manager can name on his teamsheet for each game.

Read more: Why the Hornets decided to sell Hernandez

Here’s the exact wording:

33.8 Home Grown Players. Each Club shall be required to nominate a minimum of seven Home Grown Players on their Team Sheet of Players for all League Competition Matches (including Play Off Matches).

So, in a nutshell, in the 18-man squad named for each game next season, Rob Edwards can only include 11 non-homegrown players. Or put it another way: at least seven of the 18 players on the Watford team sheets next season must be homegrown.

Everyone was familiar with the Premier League rule that meant clubs could not name more than 17 non-homegrown players in their official 25-man squad. However, for whatever reason, the Football League add another layer and lay out rules for including homegrown players on a matchday.

What is a homegrown player, I hear you ask? Well, meet regulation 33.9 and its sub-clauses:

33.9 ‘Home Grown Player’ shall mean a Player who irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with:-

33.9.1 his current Club; and/or

33.9.2 a Club and/or any other football club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales, for a period, continuous or not of three Seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21)

Yes, easy to understand isn’t it – not.

With the help of the club, here’s a list of players currently registered with Watford FC who are NOT deemed homegrown players: Angelini; Asprilla; Bayo; Dahlberg; Dennis; Femenia; Kabasele; Kalu; Kamara; Kayembe; Louza; Masina; Mebude; Okoye; Pedro - will be from January (three seasons); Penaranda; Quina; Samir; Sarr; Sema; Sierralta; Sissoko; Zinckernagel.

Both Daniel Bachmann (three years at Stoke) and William Troost-Ekong (played youth football for Fulham and Tottenham) are classed as homegrown players. As is striker Kwadwo Baah, who has been capped three times at Under-19 level by Germany (where he was born) but spent four years in the Crystal Palace academy.

Still with me?!

So, when people expressed surprise at the transfer of Cucho Hernandez to Columbus Crew, it is now possible to see why that deal appealed. Head coach Rob Edwards made it clear to the club from the outset that he wanted to do his utmost to avoid having players who had to miss out simply because he could not fit them on his team sheet.

And coupled with his desire to look at young homegrown talent like Mattie Pollock, Joseph Hungbo and Tom Dele-Bashiru, you can see a picture emerging where it may be necessary to move on players to free up space to enable Edwards to mould a squad – and particularly an ethos and togetherness – that he wants.

Now when you look at that list there are names that stand out: it seems pretty likely that Moussa Sissoko, Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis will not be at Vicarage Road come July 30, and rumours persist that both Philip Zinckernagel and Adam Masina may also leave to free up spaces on contestant’s row (that’s a reference to the popular 80s/90s TV game show The Price is Right for those not as old as me).

On the other hand, look again at the list and start to pencil in names you think will almost certainly be on Edwards’ teamsheet.

Maduka Okoye seems set to start the season as first-choice keeper. It would be hard to imagine that the likes of Imran Louza, Player of the Season Hassane Kamara and fans’ favourite Joao Pedro will not be involved, and both Duxbury and Edwards have spoken of a desire to unleash the young talent that is Yaser Asprilla onto the Championship.

Despite stories to the contrary both Kiko Femenia and Samir seem set to stay at the club, Domingos Quina was highlighted by Duxbury as the sort of young talent that the new head coach wants to have involved, and I can’t believe Vakoun Issouf Bayo is joining the club to watch Soccer Saturday.

It doesn’t take long to get to a position where you are having to rule out players, does it?

That’s all well and good, but if you want to take names off that list then you have to find somewhere for them to go. Just because a club doesn’t want/need a player anymore, doesn’t necessarily mean there is an orderly queue of potential takers forming.

So back to the Cucho sale. There we have a player that was sought after and who also generated a fee that was many times that which the club paid for, and he would also have fallen into the non-homegrown category. That’s before we consider the player expressed a desire to move and the merits, if any, of keeping anyone who is fluttering their eyelids in other directions.

Now pre-season has started, players are back and the English transfer system grinds into action, we are bound to see more moves both in and out of Vicarage Road. Undoubtedly there will be some we all agree with, others that divide our opinions.

However, now I (and hopefully you) understand that single very important sentence in the EFL rules for next season, it makes sense for everyone to view transfers through the lens of regulation 33.8.