Cathcart makes Hornets switch
Posted by nickogs20 on September 14, 2009
United’s Northern Ireland U21 defender Craig Cathcart has joined Championship side Watford on a loan deal that will see him ply his trade at Vicarage Road until early January.
It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks for the 20 year-old from Belfast. As the transfer window came to an end, rumours abounded of possible permanent moves to Plymouth Argyle or Newcastle United, and unconfirmed reports suggested United had surprisingly accepted bids in excess of £1m for one of their most promising youngsters. Similarly unsubstantiated sources claimed that Cathcart had failed a medical at Newcastle. Just a few days later however, Craig was turning out for NI U21s in a European Championship qualifier. All very mysterious.
Craig emerged from that qualifier with what was thought to be a hamstring injury that would enforce a four-to-six week lay-off, and yet the centre-back is now expected to come into immediate contention for a first-team place with Watford when he joins up with the Hornets after their clash with Plymouth tomorrow night.
A familiar face will be on hand to help Craig settle in at Vicarage Road in the form of Tom Cleverley, who has made a terrific impression in his first few weeks with Watford. Manager Malky Mackay’s excellent relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson would seem to have a lot to do with the loan of both players, with the younger Scot commenting: “Once again, Manchester United dealt with the situation very professionally and they’ve helped us out again in trusting us with another one of their players.”
A tall, imposing centre-half equally comfortable with the physical side of the game and in possession of the football, Craig is highly-regarded at Old Trafford and in his native Northern Ireland, where a senior cap is very much regarded as a matter of when rather than if. The 20 year-old has captained United at U18 and Reserve level and his country at various age groups, and made real strides forward last year with his first real taste of senior football, making 33 appearances at the heart of Plymouth Argyle’s defence as they successfully avoided relegation from the Championship. With Watford starting the season brightly, the next few months offer a great opportunity to pick up further priceless experience, hopefully at the preferred end of the table this time.