The Vital Interview: Tommie Hoban
PERHAPS THE biggest compliment that you can pay Tommie Hoban right now is that he has never looked out of place in a Watford shirt during any of his nine first-team starts this term.
The Walthamstow-born defender has settled in life as a first-team squad member at Vicarage Road with apparent ease and there is we are yet to witness the rite of passage of a young player that is the dip in form.
Hoban looks every inch the Watford player, but he`s under no illusions despite having the security of a five-year contract behind him, a sense of humility he`s carried since his days as a scholar in fact.
"Once you enter the training ground you see there`s still a long, long way to go. They gave us a statistic - out of the 10 boys that get their scholarship at 16, only one of those boys is still playing football at 21."
Despite making his first league start this season under Gianfranco Zola, it was actually Malky Mackay who gave a 17 year-old Hoban his full league debut at Preston North End in 2011, an occasion which was exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure.
"[Martin] Taylor goes down and I`m thinking 'this is it`. I`m warming up and Malky shouts to me and tells me to come back and from that moment I thought I was going to have an asthma attack. Literally going on the pitch I couldn`t even breathe! It was crazy. The physio was treating Martin Taylor but he had my asthma pump so I had to get someone to run over to him and throw me my asthma pump."
Not that asthma is a big concern for the Republic of Ireland U19 captain:
"It did affect me a bit more when I was younger. I still take my pump in the morning, I`ve got a different pump I take before training and matches. If I wasn`t to take it would make it a lot harder for me. I`d get through the half but it would be a lot harder than it had to be. It`s one of those annoying things. There are loads of players who have asthma - Beckham`s got asthma!"
If Hoban can go on to achieve even a tenth of what the LA Galaxy man has achieved, it`s safe to say that Watford will have produced yet another gem...REMEMBER!This is just an extract. Make sure to pick up Saturday`s Official Matchday Programme to read the full, feature-length Vital Interview with Tommie in which he discusses a whole lot more including Arsenal, Ireland and going up against Darius Henderson.