Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach wants to stay and fight
This season has been one of the most difficult in Scott Loach’s career but the goalkeeper retains a positive outlook and has stressed he wants to stay at Watford and fight for his place.
Loach is only 23, which is considered young for a goalkeeper, but he became the Hornets number one three-and-a-half years ago and has already made 163 appearances for the Hornets – more than 200 career outings if you include loan clubs and internationals.
The Nottingham-born shot-stopper's potential led to a call-up to the full England squad and interest from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, who had a £2m bid turned down in early 2010.
This season has been a tough one for Loach though, as he was dropped for two games in late September and was then replaced by loanee Tomasz Kuszczak in February.
The birth of Kuszczak’s child meant Loach was reinstalled for the final game of the season and he excelled as he helped Watford secure the three points which lifted them to 11th in the table.
Kuszczak made a superb contribution to the Hornets’ improved form and the club were keen to sign him permanently, but this has not left Loach disheartened.
Speaking after the victory over Middlesbrough, Loach said: “I will have a meeting with the gaffer (which took place on Tuesday) and I will tell him that I know I have a year left [on my contract] and there was interest in Tomasz, but I am not going to lie down and spit the dummy out.
“I don't want to leave the club; it has been fantastic to me, I want to play games and I want to be number one. If he wants to go elsewhere [for a goalkeeper] then that is fair enough; I will sit back and fight – and it might do me good learning off someone else. If he wants to bring in competition then fair enough but I am not one to spit my dummy out.
“This club has been great to me and I want to be great for this club, repay their faith and play as many games as I can.”
Loach has endured a few costly errors this season and manager Sean Dyche felt he needed time out of the team, which resulted in the arrival of Kuszczak from Manchester United.
The goalkeeper agrees Dyche was right and believes he is a better player following his break.
“I have had a funny year,” Loach admitted. “I had five or so good games and then five or so indifferent games but I am 23 and, whilst I have played over 200 games, that will happen.
“The rest has been absolutely fantastic for me and to work with Tomasz week-in week-out was really good. It was nice to sit back and see where I want to be and what I need to do to get there."
He added: “The rest was needed because mentally it gets to you and after four years of playing at this level, sometimes you need a break.
“Hopefully I showed against Middlesbrough that I do have the ability in high pressure games and it is now about consistency.
“I am young and learning but I also know I can’t keep just saying it and I need to put it into practice and the big thing with Tomasz is his consistency.”
Kuszczak has spent six years on the books of Manchester United and has also played for Poland and Loach believes his team-mate has another “four or five years playing in the Premier League”.
When asked what he had learned from his more experienced colleague, Loach replied: “Goalkeeping is all about being calm and relaxed and I was watching him and he makes it look effortless at times. He has been at the top level playing with the likes of Wayne Rooney and that can only help.
“He has played at Champions League level, international level and in front of 80,000 people for most of his career and he said you are not going to save shots if you are really tense. If you are always thinking I must save it, then you won’t.”
Whilst this season has been arguably the toughest of Loach’s career so far, Watford as a whole have taken great strides; finishing in 11th place after losing just once in the final 13 games.
Loach said: “I can't see teams beating us now. I often sit there thinking this team are not going to beat us tonight. I really feel we are strong and teams really don't like playing us.”
He added: “Everyone has come in and gelled really well. There is a great atmosphere and it is something we’ve had all year. I think that is why we have succeeded, because even when we have lost four in a row but no one got at each other and that is what pulled us through in the long run.”