Recent games have shown that Valerien Ismael is willing to shuffle his deck, and even tinker with the formation.

Indeed, only two players are now ever-present league starters in the Watford squad as the manager insists that performances, not reputation, get you a place in the team.

“Yes, that is exactly the message,” he said.

“We need everyone. If you want to create a team spirit where everyone feels involved, and to feel they will get the chance to play, then if every week you play with the same XI you will lose the belief of some players.

“You need to rotate and players need to know they need to put in performances.

“It has to be a team performance. We are not relying on one or two players.

“We have two No.9s who have scored three league goals each. Maybe other clubs have one who has scored seven. But we have two who have scored three, and we have goals coming from the wing positions too.

“The responsibility should be spread across the shoulders of all the players.”

So far, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that not all of the Hornets more senior players have stepped up to the plate in quite the way Ismael would like.

“Yes, we know. We have to work hard to force that message home, and we will keep doing that,” he said.

“But at some point also the transfer window will come and we will assess the situation, and believe me we will be very strong in our assessment.

“Are we happy with performances? Are the team doing what we expected of them? Should we do something different? Can we improve the team? Can we get players from the transfer market who will improve us and make us better?

“That we will do, but in the meantime we need to work with the players we have here to give them confidence.

“We want them to have the confidence and give them the chance to step up. It’s as simple as that.”