John Eustace was recently released by Watford after a five-year stint with the Championship club.
The Hornets did offer the midfielder a chance to stay on as a player-coach but Eustace declined, opting to focus on his playing career for the time being. Nigel Clough, a long-term admirer of the former Coventry man, could offer him the opportunity to continue playing with Derby, where he is currently training. Eustace spent a short loan spell at Pride Park back in 2009.
I think the 33-year-old would make a good signing. He is held in high regard amongst Hornet supporters.
Last season, Derby did lack experience amongst the midfield. Away from home the Rams struggled for points last season despite often being in good positions, throwing away games away proved costly. Would an experienced head in the middle make the difference? I think so, Eustace offers that.
I’m not suggesting he should come in and play every game, I just feel he could be a very effective squad player. I wouldn’t want him to come in and prevent more progress from young midfielders Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick but, as good as it is to have exciting youngsters in the team, it’s equally as important to balance the youth/experience slightly to help the youngsters along in the sticky situations.
Occasional Watford fan Jonathan Rodgers has given me his thoughts on Eustace, a player he’s watched numerous times.
If Clough decides to sign him (and I think it’s a dead cert if he can prove his fitness & possibly get through a friendly), he’d be a brilliant acquisition. I can’t imagine him playing 30+ games in a season and of course we have some excellent central midfielders already but he would give us other options (especially as a late sub to close out a game or maybe to start in a tough away game). We don’t have another player like him and he would certainly be a valuable and inexpensive addition to the squad.
What would he bring to the team? Well, he’s a solid, defensive midfielder, a decent passer (not on a par with Hughes though) and capable of popping up with a few goals. He’s even scored from a couple of bicycle kicks.
However, the most important things Eustace can bring to a side (especially a young one like ours) are experience and authority. I think those are things we’ve been missing, at least since Savage left.
Thanks very much to Jonathan for his comments.
If he signs, I think he could be a pivotal signing.
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