Nathaniel Chalobah graced the turf at Old Trafford on the final day of the season, as he made his return to the Watford line up for the first time since mid-September.
Despite eight months on the sidelines and just six appearances for the Hornets this season, the 23-year-old midfielder has staked his claim to be the next Watford captain, and the future of the club.
A fractured kneecap suffered in a training session just a month into this campaign has kept the youngster out of contention of the Watford line up and on the international scene, but the future could see Chalobah reach the very top.
Been the toughest few months for me but the most satisfying thing is knowing that I’m back on my feet n pushing myself as hard as I can to be back on the grass.For anyone whose injured going through difficult times, STAY STRONG.THERES ALWAYS IMPROVEMENT,EVEN IF YOU CAN’T SEE IT. pic.twitter.com/AhtFPGodwy— Nathaniel Chalobah (@chalobah) January 23, 2018
The versatile middle man will certainly be a mainstay in the starting XI at Vicarage Road next season, and has what it takes to lead the Yellow Army in the future.
Whether it be sitting just in front of the defensive line, or pushing forward and playing the decisive passes to the forward outlets, Chalobah’s capabilities on the ball are endless.
Neat touches, crucial interceptions and a commanding voice in the middle of the park are the features that a modern day captain must possess, and Chalobah has it all at the age of just 23.
The Sierra Leone born midfielder moved to England at the age of seven, joining the Chelsea youth academy three years later.
Chalobah spent 12 years on the books at Stamford Bridge, playing at all age levels, and ended his tenure with ten senior team appearances for the Chelsea first team, even receiving a Premier League winner’s medal during the 2016/17 season.
The defensive midfielder had six loan spells away from Chelsea at Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli, as well as his first loan move to current employers Watford back in 2012, aged just 17.
Nathaniel Chalobah man has vast experience at international level, despite never making a senior England appearance, currently sat three appearances shy of a century.
Having played at multiple youth levels, including 40 appearances for the England Under-21 squad, making him the second most capped England Under-21 player of all time behind James Milner, the former Chelsea man has had plenty of involvement over the years.
Current England boss Gareth Southgate, who managed Chalobah at Under-21 level, gave the young midfielder his first England senior call up in August 2017 for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia, but didn’t make an appearance.
Watford have invested in an English core to their side in recent years, with the purchase of Chalobah, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverley in midfield and Andre Gray partnering Troy Deeney in front of goal.
Much different to Chalobah’s first spell at Vicarage Road, he now finds himself around fellow countrymen, who can help him along the way to being a Watford great.
Whatever the future holds for Nathaniel Chalobah, he is certain to be a starter for the Hornets next season. If and when Watford’s current leader Troy Deeney does depart the club, the path is set for the young midfielder to pull the arm band on and lead his side out at Vicarage Road for years to come.