'I love Cristian Battocchio, he is one of my kids': Manuel Almunia and Beppe Sannino praise Watford midfielder's professionalism

Picture: Holly Cant

Picture: Holly Cant

First published in Latest Sport This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Group Sports Editor

Watford’s captain and head coach have praised the attitude and professionalism of Cristian Battocchio.

Battocchio looked set to leave the Golden Boys on loan last week but we understand the likeable midfielder is now set to remain with the Hornets during this transfer window at the request of Sannino.

Publically, the Hornets’ head coach has been reluctant to discuss the player’s future but we understand Sannino has told the Pozzos he wants to keep the Italy Under-21 international at Vicarage Road.

The Argentine-born midfielder has started the last two matches and with Iriney and Lewis McGugan suffering injuries at the weekend, and Alexander Merkel still suspended, he is likely to be in the XI against Manchester City tomorrow (Saturday).

Yesterday (Thursday) Sannino said: “Battocchio played the last game and will play the next game. As I’ve told you I don’t talk about the transfer market. “He is a big professional and in the last two games was impressive. He was prepared for the games and you could see that he was good on the pitch.

“So I am hoping that he can carry on in this way.” Battocchio had looked set for a loan move to Serie B side Padova last week, with his agent Claudio Vagheggi claiming a deal could be concluded in “a matter of days”.

The Golden Boys are still trying to sign a defensive midfielder but Battocchio’s importance to the club has increased further following injuries to McGugan and Iriney at the weekend.

The Hornets hierarchy were open to letting Battocchio leave prior to Saturday’s match with Bournemouth but we understand Sannino has since expressed a clear desire for the player to remain.

He has made 12 starts and nine substitute appearances for Watford this season in all competitions and his work rate and attitude on the pitch has seen him become a favourite among supporters. Battocchio is also popular in the Hornets’ dressing room.

“I love him, he’s one of my kids,” said veteran goalkeeper and Watford captain Manuel Almunia on Saturday.

“I hope he’s going to stay. But in football when somebody isn’t really happy, I 100 per cent understand if a player needs to enjoy himself more and needs to play more. I don’t know if he wants to leave or not – but the truth is that when he’s been playing, he’s been playing absolutely fantastic and that’s the only thing we can take from him.”

On his character off the pitch, Almunia added: “He’s a lovely lad. He never causes any problems when he doesn’t play.

“He never says anything, he just works – always with a smile on his face – and tries to do what the manager wants him to.

“That’s the attitude to have if you want to be a good footballer.”

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:22am Fri 24 Jan 14

JohnnyBarnes says...

Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well.

Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran. JohnnyBarnes
  • Score: 44

11:26am Fri 24 Jan 14

jsjf1979 says...

JohnnyBarnes wrote:
Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well.

Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
agree
[quote][p][bold]JohnnyBarnes[/bold] wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.[/p][/quote]agree jsjf1979
  • Score: 18

12:01pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Boosey says...

jsjf1979 wrote:
JohnnyBarnes wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
agree
Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad!
[quote][p][bold]jsjf1979[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnnyBarnes[/bold] wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.[/p][/quote]agree[/p][/quote]Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad! Boosey
  • Score: 35

12:24pm Fri 24 Jan 14

stewbyhorn says...

I love Christian too! So glad he's staying a real great player with a great attitude
I love Christian too! So glad he's staying a real great player with a great attitude stewbyhorn
  • Score: 18

1:24pm Fri 24 Jan 14

lutondown says...

Boosey wrote:
jsjf1979 wrote:
JohnnyBarnes wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
agree
Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad!
It's more of a shock to me with your womanising ways that he's not one of your love children! Hold up... I'm sure I saw him in Gary flannel shorts and winkle pickers ;)
[quote][p][bold]Boosey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jsjf1979[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnnyBarnes[/bold] wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.[/p][/quote]agree[/p][/quote]Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad![/p][/quote]It's more of a shock to me with your womanising ways that he's not one of your love children! Hold up... I'm sure I saw him in Gary flannel shorts and winkle pickers ;) lutondown
  • Score: 2

1:24pm Fri 24 Jan 14

lutondown says...

lutondown wrote:
Boosey wrote:
jsjf1979 wrote:
JohnnyBarnes wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
agree
Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad!
It's more of a shock to me with your womanising ways that he's not one of your love children! Hold up... I'm sure I saw him in Gary flannel shorts and winkle pickers ;)
Grey..not Gary...ffs
[quote][p][bold]lutondown[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boosey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jsjf1979[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnnyBarnes[/bold] wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.[/p][/quote]agree[/p][/quote]Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad![/p][/quote]It's more of a shock to me with your womanising ways that he's not one of your love children! Hold up... I'm sure I saw him in Gary flannel shorts and winkle pickers ;)[/p][/quote]Grey..not Gary...ffs lutondown
  • Score: 1

2:07pm Fri 24 Jan 14

truefan1 says...

lutondown wrote:
Boosey wrote:
jsjf1979 wrote:
JohnnyBarnes wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
agree
Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad!
It's more of a shock to me with your womanising ways that he's not one of your love children! Hold up... I'm sure I saw him in Gary flannel shorts and winkle pickers ;)
Gary Flannel was he the wine waiter who played in the semi final against spurs (-:
[quote][p][bold]lutondown[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boosey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jsjf1979[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnnyBarnes[/bold] wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.[/p][/quote]agree[/p][/quote]Yeah have to agree as well but must have been a shock to the system to find out Almunia is his dad![/p][/quote]It's more of a shock to me with your womanising ways that he's not one of your love children! Hold up... I'm sure I saw him in Gary flannel shorts and winkle pickers ;)[/p][/quote]Gary Flannel was he the wine waiter who played in the semi final against spurs (-: truefan1
  • Score: 9

2:51pm Fri 24 Jan 14

bristol hornet says...

JohnnyBarnes wrote:
Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well.

Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.
See that McEachran has gone to Wigan.

They must be desperate.
[quote][p][bold]JohnnyBarnes[/bold] wrote: Really want to keep Batts - a very tidy, honest player and, seemingly, a nice lad as well. Glad we've decided to keep him over keeping McEachran.[/p][/quote]See that McEachran has gone to Wigan. They must be desperate. bristol hornet
  • Score: 10

4:32pm Fri 24 Jan 14

soulfulhornet says...

Great news if he stays, with the injuries in midfield. Hopefully he will get considerable game time as an attacking midfielder (and not the holding player) and can establish himself in the team based on his performances.
Great news if he stays, with the injuries in midfield. Hopefully he will get considerable game time as an attacking midfielder (and not the holding player) and can establish himself in the team based on his performances. soulfulhornet
  • Score: 3

4:49pm Fri 24 Jan 14

andyhooked says...

Hmm, Agents stuff again, one minute he is going and then he is not. Perhaps some spin out of WFC but he has signed a long term contract with us so why loan him out unless he is not going to feature? A growing talent but needs first team football and Italy under 21s to improve..
Hmm, Agents stuff again, one minute he is going and then he is not. Perhaps some spin out of WFC but he has signed a long term contract with us so why loan him out unless he is not going to feature? A growing talent but needs first team football and Italy under 21s to improve.. andyhooked
  • Score: 5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree