Watford had around 100 applicants for the position of youth team coach and the club believe former Wales Under-21 international David Hughes ticks all the boxes.

Hughes' switch from Shrewsbury Town was confirmed a week ago and today he begins his first full day in the position.

Watford's head of academy Nick Cox stressed the club were desperate to find the perfect man for the role rather than just giving the job to a 'mate'.

Cox said: “David has been through a rigorous process to get the job because we had about 100 candidates and a two-stage interview process, so it wasn't a case of ringing our mate and saying 'do you want a job'. We wanted to find the best man for the role.

“We wanted to find someone who had a passion for youth development, not someone who just wanted to progress their career before managing a first team.”

The Hornets have been looking for someone to lead the youth team since Joe McBride joined Malky Mackay at Cardiff City in the summer.

Hughes started his playing career at Aston Villa but moved to Shrewsbury Town after failing to secure a first team spot.

The defender, who represented Wales until Under-21 level, was a regular for the Shrews during his two-year spell and earned a move to Cardiff City for £450,000.

His career was blighted by injuries though and he confirmed his retirement from the game at the age of 26.

The 33-year-old was coaching at Cardiff’s Academy while he went through university and was promoted to head of youth development at Shrewsbury in October 2009.

Cox said: “We wanted someone with qualifications – he is an A licence holder and he has a degree in sports science.

“But it is also about having someone who understands the ethos of our club and with him working at Shrewsbury, he understands what it means to produce your own players to be a sustainable business.

“He also has the personality and the experience of playing himself that will help our kids to make the transition from the youth team to the first team.

“He has also experienced his career being cut short in his early 20s so that gives him valuable life experience which will mean he will have empathy with the boys who don't quite make it. He can also hit home the importance of education and being a decent kid as well.”