For a teenager living thousands of miles away from his homeland in a country where he doesn’t speak the language, settling down and finding your feet is tricky enough.

But when stories start appearing that you’re unhappy and want to leave your club after one season – and those stories are totally inaccurate – it only adds to the pressure.

Yaser Asprilla turns 20 on November 19 and has been living in England for around 16 months. His move from Envigado to Watford was a big one, not just in terms of the change of league but also the change of continent.

He was the Hornets’ fourth-highest appearance maker last season and yet, soon after the campaign ended, stories began to appear that he wanted to leave Vicarage Road.

He was linked with transfers to Portugal and Spain as well as possibly following Joao Pedro to Brighton, or even heading to Newcastle.

“The stories were all lies,” said Asprilla, firmly and with a hint of indignance.

“That is what happens back in Colombia. There were stories during the season saying that Bilic had dropped me out of the first-team squad, and that was a lie.

“These rumours that I was unhappy or that I wanted to leave were also all lies.”

In his time at Vicarage Road, Asprilla has rarely spoken even to the club’s official channels, so to have the chance to speak to him at length was quite special – especially as he admits himself that giving interviews is not something he particularly enjoys.

“I don’t like to speak to the media so I wouldn’t have said those things myself,” he explained.

“My agent and my family didn’t speak to the press either, because none of us want these kind of rumours going around.

“Of course I am happy to have the chance to say this now. I want to keep going here at Watford.”

Watford Observer: Asprilla celebrating with former teammate Joao PedroAsprilla celebrating with former teammate Joao Pedro (Image: PA)

Now into his second season with the Hornets, Asprilla admits he knows far, far more about the club than he did when his transfer was completed in 2022.

“I knew a little bit about Watford, but not much about the club,” he said.

“Obviously when I was in Colombia I was focussed on my club and career there, so I hadn’t really had the chance to learn about the club before I arrived.

“The only real problem when I arrived was the language barrier, because technically and tactically I know what I’m doing and I know what I need to do.

“The language was a problem, but a lot of people helped me out. The only other thing really was the difference in the climate!

“In Colombia we have temperatures that are never reached in England.

“Apart from that, the only thing that affected me was the difference between the Colombian league and the English league.

“In England the pace is higher and we have to run more. In Colombia you still have to run, but there are more slower periods in games.

“In England, the game is all about pace and intensity.”

Something Asprilla had never experienced before was training in snow.

“To me, the difference from what I was used to and suddenly training in the snow was a bit complicated,” he recalled.

“Not only was I trying to keep my focus on the training and whatever was happening on the training pitch, but in my mind I was trying to keep warm because my feet were freezing!

“I had never experienced training in that sort of cold before, so I was trying to balance my training with what my body was feeling.”

He admits that the intensity of the Championship did take his breath away at first.

“I had watched some Premier League games of course, and when I arrived here I knew I would be playing in the Championship and I knew that would be different,” he said.

“I expected there to be intensity in the way I had seen in the Premier League, but I couldn’t imagine how tough and how much we had to put in, day after day, to compete in the Championship.”

Asprilla arrived in England looking quite slight and was often facing older and far bigger defenders from the outset.

“That has never been a problem to me,” he said.

“The physical side of the game has been normal to me because since I was a child I have never played against people of my size, it’s always been against older people who are usually much bigger than me.

“Physical was something I had got used to.”

His Watford debut arrived quite early last season, coming on as sub for the last 10 minutes of the win over Burnley at Vicarage Road on Friday, August 12.

Watford Observer: On his debut against BurnleyOn his debut against Burnley (Image: PA)

“That was a positive feeling because it was my new beginning in a new league,” he said.

“I was very, very happy for that special moment. I think I played only nine or 10 minutes, but the feelings those few minutes gave me were very good.

“After that game with Burnley I was called into the Colombian national team, and I scored my first goal for the senior team.

“It was a very good time for me.”

His words about the Colombian team are delivered with a smile and a tone that suggests he is honoured to be playing for his country.

“Yes, a lot,” he replied. “It makes me very proud.”

Watford Observer: In action for Colombia Under-20s against ItalyIn action for Colombia Under-20s against Italy (Image: Action Images)

However, although he broke into the team quickly last season and made 37 Championship appearances, 23 of them were from the bench.

“It’s part of the process. It has always been part of the process,” he said.

“When you start out as a young player you know that many times you will be on the bench. And when you do get to play, you will often be coming off the bench.

“It happens for any player at any club. It was the case for me last season, and it has been the case again this season.

“This season as I have gained more experience I am playing more and starting more, but I acknowledge that being a substitute is part of the process that every young player goes through.”

Settling into a new home in a new country at a new club was made harder by the fact he also had three different managers.

“It was very complicated,” Asprilla reflected.

“We had three different managers and I don’t think any of them lasted for more than three months.

“Everything kept changing, and I was just trying to focus on playing and training, and I was trying to offer as much as I could.

“The managers last season spoke very little Spanish, but the current gaffer does speak some which is very helpful.”

His first goal for the club came against Huddersfield in April.

“Yes, that was a very special day, both my father and mother were in the stadium,” he beamed.

“It was a special moment, and a goal for my family. They had literally just landed in England and they came straight to the game.”

Watford Observer: Celebrating his first Watford goal.Celebrating his first Watford goal. (Image: PA)

This season he scored his first winning goal for the club when he stepped off the bench to net the only goal against Sheffield Wednesday at Vicarage Road.

“When I was still on the bench that day I was just waiting for my moment to come onto the pitch,” he said.

“Sometimes, when you are coming off the bench, it can be a bit easier as the opponents are tired.

“They were fatigued and I was fresh, and I knew with my pace I could offer something.

“So I was sitting and waiting, and already thinking about how I could score to help the team.”

Where does he think is his best position?

“My natural position is as a No.10, however I love playing as a high winger who attacks.

“There are two main differences. As a No.10 you are more likely to make an assist for the strikers to score.

“As a winger, I like to cut in and try to be the one who scores the goal.

“Those are the differences, but I love both.”

Asprilla is now playing under his fourth Watford head coach, Valerien Ismael, who has adopted a style very different to anything else during the Colombian’s short time at the club.

“I like the system this season,” he said.

“The system that the gaffer is trying to implement really involves the attacking players as we have to start pressing from the beginning.

“It’s down to all of us to apply pressure, and there’s the chance that if we recover the ball early then it can be easier for us to make an assist or score a goal.”

Watford Observer: Head coach Valerien Ismael joins in the celebrations after Asprilla's goal beat Sheffield WednesdayHead coach Valerien Ismael joins in the celebrations after Asprilla's goal beat Sheffield Wednesday (Image: PA)

One thing that’s for certain is that Watford fans have taken the young lad from Colombia under their wing.

“I feel that every time I walk on the pitch.

“I hear the songs they sing for me, and that really gives me strong emotions.

“Most importantly it gives me that drive to push and make some extra effort for them, for the club and for my teammates.”

On the other hand, something that is definitely not the case is that Yaser Asprilla and former Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla are related!

“It’s funny you’ve asked that because people keep saying that to me so many times, just because we have the same surname!

“Yes, we’re from the same area of Colombia but we are not related in any way, there is no family connection.

“We just share a surname and come from the same geographic area.”

What about his grasp of learning a new language?

“I’m studying my English.

“I’m always trying to improve it a little bit, and especially now it is helping me to communicate on the pitch.”

Presumably being in a football environment means he has picked up the swear words?!

“Of course – those are the first words that I learned!” he laughed.

Watford Observer:

Putting his understandable issues with the weather to one side, what does Asprilla like most, and least, about his new country of residence?

“The best thing about England is how this country lives for football.

“Football is everything here with the Premier League and also the Championship, and everyone around the world watches the football played in England.

“Every player around the world wants to play in Europe, and especially to play in England.

“The worst thing is the weather, and I’m not really sure what to say apart from that. If I had to say something, then the food is not great!”

Anyone who follows Asprilla on Instagram will know he likes to post regular pictures of himself in the latest fashion. Has he got a deal with anyone?!

“No I don’t have a contract with any manufacturers!

“When I was in Colombia I started using my social media channels such as Instagram.

“And when I’m taking my pictures I always like to wear these brands.”