Portuguese striker Henrique Araújo is looking forward to scoring his first goal as quickly as possible during his loan spell at Watford for three reasons.

Firstly the Benfica striker, who turned 21 earlier this week, is a self-confessed goal addict: “I just love scoring goals,” he said.

Secondly, he can show the Watford supporters his goal celebration – which involves making the letter ‘M’ with his fingers – and, lastly, he is fascinated to hear how stadium announcers pronounce his name!

“The players here at Watford are calling me Henrique, that’s a lot easier! I have no nicknames yet, and I know the pronunciation of Araújo is hard for you guys to say,” he said, explaining his first name is ‘en-reek’.

“I really want to score to listen to the tannoy in the stadiums to see how they say my name!”

And what’s that letter M all about?

“It’s a celebration that I do for a group of friends,” Araújo explained.

“When I went to Benfica my friends asked to do something for them, and I decide to do the M.

“Of course, when I score, the Watford fans will see the M!”

He may only be 21, but the young Portuguese forward is fluent in English and is extremely comfortable answering questions and chatting.

He’s also very personable, and was very willing to just talk ‘football’, explaining more about the stricture of the game in Portugal and how it’s accepted that the bigger professional clubs have B-teams in the second division – an idea mooted but quickly dismissed in England as being insulting to clubs outside the top tier.

The top echelon of Portuguese football is where Araújo has been operating most recently, playing Primeira Liga and Champions League football for Benfica this season.

Watford Observer:

When a player with a €100m buy-out clause in his contract becomes available for loan, there are bound to be many high-profile suitors. How did the move to Watford come about?

“The project here at the club, and the way the people I met spoke with me. What they said and how they said it told me a lot about the club, and impressed me,” he said.

“I wanted to go to a place where I could play and score goals. That is the most important thing at this moment in my career.

“I think it was a good decision. Helena Costa is here and Joao Ferreira also, so they told me good things about Watford and gave me information that helped me make up my mind.

“When I was a little younger I knew that Watford was normally a Premier League club, and it’s clear the goal is to get back there again.

“Then I also did a little bit of research, and I saw more about the club that I liked.”

Araújo has played second division football in Portugal for Benfica B, and he holds England’s second tier in very high regard.

“The Championship is the best ‘second division’ in the world,” he said.

“It’s really competitive and all the teams are tough, the team at the top can lose to the team at bottom, and anyone can beat anyone.

“I was playing in the top division in Portugal, so I think if I was going to play in a second division then the only place was in England.”

He will be at Watford for the remainder of the season, be that 18 regular season games, or 21 fixtures if the club goes all the way to the play-off final.

“The aim of the club is to catch the top two, and the players here will fight to do that. We have 18 games left,” he said.

“There are a lot of games and a lot of points still to play for, and I still believe everything is possible. If we go to the play-offs, then that’s no problem at all. We’d be going there to win.”

It’s no surprise that when you ask Araújo about his love of football as a youngster, one name crops up pretty quickly.

“English and Spanish football was what I watched as I was growing up. I liked to watch Manchester United when I was a younger boy because of Cristiano Ronaldo of course, but in more recent years I’ve enjoyed watching Liverpool because they play very attacking football.

“Then there’s Manchester City as they have a lot of Portuguese guys in the squad. I don’t really support a club in England – but maybe I will now I’m here at Watford!”

Would one of his aims be to take over the role that Ronaldo has played for Portugal for so many years?

“Don’t put me in that position! There is only one Cristiano and he is the best in my opinion, of all time.

“I don’t put myself in that category but of course Cristiano is an idol and a great point of reference for me.”

Watford Observer:

When the loan move began to reach the social media rumour mill, many fans tracked down videos and read about Araújo’s background. But the best way to understand how he likes to play, and what he thinks his strengths are, is to ask the man himself.

“I like to play simple football. I want to play with my teammates and do things collectively, and of course I like scoring goals,” he explained.

“My aim is to be in the right spot when the defence is open, and to be there for the team.

“I have already played in two different systems. With the national Under-21 team I have played as one of two strikers, and that is ok.

“At Benfica this season we’ve also played with two, but usually I’ve played as a lone striker for Benfica and I’m comfortable with that too.

“I like to play good football with my teammates, but I think the main difference in the way I play is using my intelligence. I know how to attack spaces and see where the gaps are going to be that allow me to score goals.

“I think that movement and intelligence are my biggest weapons.

“Normally strikers reach the very top level when they are 27, 28, 29. By then they understand the game. But I am trying to accelerate that process because if I can do what top strikers do when I am 22 or 23, then I can reach the highest level earlier and play there for more years.”

Much of Araújo’s playing time with Benfica has been with their B team, and he has found that experience very useful

“The difference between the B team and the main squad in Portuguese football can be big, but because our B team plays in the Portuguese second division that is really good for the players.

“The second division is very different to what you experience when playing in youth football, and that was really important for me.

“I felt the difference in physicality when I went from youth football to the B team. There is a big difference.

“Then when I went into the main squad, I didn’t feel such a difference. The second division in Portugal is strong and physical, and that prepared me well.

“I played like 60 games in the B team and so when I came into the main squad I could more easily make the step up, and continue to score goals.

“The experience I had in the B team was really important for my development.”

This season he has had the chance to play Champions League football, and scored in Benfica’s last group game against Maccabi Haifa.

“Yes that was another step up, and a great moment for me,” he smiled.

“I played only ten minutes but I managed to score a goal and that was really good.

“Of course we also won our group which included Paris St Germain and Juventus, so that was a great achievement for me and also for the club.”

The path from Benfica to England was one taken recently by another striker, Darwin Nunez, when the Uruguay international moved to Liverpool in the summer.

Watford Observer: Darwin NunezDarwin Nunez (Image: Action Images)

“Darwin was a big player for Benfica,” said Araújo.

“In his first season he had some problems with injuries, but then in his second season he was unbelievable and scored more than 30 goals.

“He’s come to England for like £70m and I think he will score goals for Liverpool like he did for Benfica.

“He is really strong, really fast and he knows how to shoot. He will put a lot of balls inside the net.

“I worked with him a little bit. In his last season at Benfica my coach in the B team went up to the main squad, and so from January I spent a lot of time with them.

“I played with him sometimes, and did quite a lot of training with him.”

What about current goalscoring idols?

“Growing up, I watched Cristiano. He is Portuguese and a legend, and that is normal for young strikers in Portugal. I also thought Luis Suarez was a great striker.

“Nowadays I like the style of play of Harry Kane, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski. I think they are the best, as well as Erling Haaland.

“In terms of how they play, the three I like are Kane, Benzema and Lewandowski.”

As the interview drew to a close, I commented again on his excellent English and asked if Benfica had played a part in that.

“No, he club doesn’t need to help teach us the language because we learn it in school,” he said.

“I’ve been speaking it for more than 10 years – on the island of Madeira where I am from, we began learning it in school from about six or seven.”

He now has five months to perfect his English even more, but this loan is obviously about his football career more than his linguistic skills. What does he, personally, want to take from it?

“I want to enjoy every moment of my time here. I have four or five months and I aim to play a lot of minutes, and obviously score goals,” he said.

“Most of all, I think this will be a good experience for me. To be playing games, to learn more: the Championship is a very good league for me to do that, and Watford is a very good club for me.”