Rob Edwards is trying to bring the locker room unit to Watford … I never had him here

Rob Edwards is trying to bring the locker room unit to Watford … I never had him here

Ken Sema tells Standard Sport why Watford locker room has been renovated (Getty Images)

Ken Sema tells Standard Sport why Watford locker room has been renovated (Getty Images)

Ken Sema has been at Watford long enough to know how things work.

Players and coaches come and go regularly, and while such a model has proven to be largely successful over the years, it makes it difficult to create a sense of unity within the squad.

Last season there was certainly very little, as Watford were relegated from the Premier League. The club had three coaches over the course of a turbulent campaign and midfielder Dan Gosling recently described him as “easily the worst dressing room he’s ever been a part of”.

New coach Rob Edwards, however, is looking to change that and unite the team.

Sema has been at Watford for four years and this summer was the first time she can remember taking part in team-bonding activities with the rafting team. Team dinners were also held and players were invited to talk about life away from football, so they could build connections.

“We haven’t done that much at this club due to the change of manager,” says Sema Standard sport.

“Sometimes people are here for three months and don’t have time to do team activities because they are focused on getting results.

“Rob is trying, but it will take some time. You can’t think he’s going to change today and suddenly everything is just great. But this way, it looks and feels like it’s the right way.

“It is very important not only to have good players, but also good people. It is the person who makes the player, it is not the player who makes the person, for me.

“You can have a decent player, but an amazing human being, and the player will grow. But if you take a player who is very, very good – but as a person he is not really suited to the team – he will be like a bad apple for the group. “

Rob Edwards is the new manager of Watford (Getty Images)

Rob Edwards is the new manager of Watford (Getty Images)

Some of the difficulties in creating a unified group come from players of different nationalities. Sema admits that players naturally gravitate towards those of the same place, but there is a feeling that it could change now after the pain of relegation last season.

“When you’re back in the Premier League you have all that buzz, but then it was a really bad season,” he says.

“We had three coaches in one season and you can’t really do it to get the results. You have to have a game plan, maybe two, but three is a bit much – and they were three completely different coaches.

“Xisco [Munoz] he was energetic, smiled a lot, all about happiness and trying to be the best version of yourself. [Claudio] Ranieri was an expert, he had already won the Premier League, he had been there, and he was a bit old school. It was a different path from Xisco.

“Roy [Hodgson] he was also completely different from Xisco, but when he arrived he came to try to save the team, but the team was already in a bad position.

Roy Hodgson (PA cable)

Roy Hodgson (PA cable)

“People were against each other. Some players who didn’t play were really angry. So when he walked in, it seemed like it was already looking bad and he was trying to fix it, but maybe it was too late. “

The mood has risen under Edwards, who players have grown fond of thanks to his personal approach. Sema says he reminds him of when Xisco was named, with the Spaniard particularly popular with the squad.

Edwards has also spent time educating players on his football philosophy, with the young manager keen to attack Watford. That will surely be music to the ears of Vicarage Road fans, who had to endure their team’s defeat 15 of their 19 home games in the Premier League last season.

“It was bad. You can be honest, it was awful, ”says Sema, when asked about the difficult form at home.

“I’ve been here for a long time and the last time we played in the league; the home field was our land. We couldn’t really lose in the house. So, we knew that we would beat all the teams with confidence at home.

I still believe that our home is very special, we have to beat the teams at home.

In the Premier League it was the opposite, at the end of the season it seemed bad air. There was nothing you could do at home, and home was our safe place. But I still believe that our home is very special. We can’t complain about anything and we have to beat the teams at home ”.

The hope is that it will change in the league, with Watford kicking off their season against Sheffield United at Vicarage Road on Monday night.

“Rob is a good guy and he likes to create a group, who will try to get closer to each other,” says Sema. “He is trying to create something special.”

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