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Daniel Tozser adjusting to life in England on and off the pitch with the help of a friend
It didn't take long for Daniel Tozser to settle in to life in England – both on and off the pitch.
Long-time target Tozser joined the Hornets on loan last Wednesday and was immediately put into the starting XI on Sunday, as he impressed during his first competitive outing all season.
And the next day, five days after his move was completed, he moved into a flat with his wife Lénárt Zsanett and young daughter Medi.
Tozser has benefited from having a good friend already at the club in the shape of Daniel Pudil, who played with the midfielder for three years at Genk and has also embraced life in Hertfordshire with his long-time partner Veronica and their son Danny.
Tozser explained that Pudil informed him of the “fantastic supporters” at Watford and said everything was “perfect”. The quality of life was said to be similar to Belgium and Tozser said he “only heard positive things”.
Tozser had been at Genoa, where he also played with Alexander Merkel for half a season, but whilst it is a Serie A club, the experienced midfielder stated that there was only one training pitch and one other room – “the facilities there are very poor in comparison to Watford’s,” he added.
He said: “I was in contact with Danny a lot and he is happy here so he only had nice things to say.
“Daniel being here wasn’t a deciding factor, but it was a big plus because I know him and he’s helped me and my family a lot since I’ve moved. But it isn’t the main reason why I chose Watford.”
He added: “The move has been in the pipeline for a while because this year I haven’t been playing in Italy so we had to find a solution so I thought this would be a good moment to move.
“I heard of Watford’s interest even in the summer but because of financial issues between the clubs we couldn’t come to an agreement, but I am happy to be here now.
“I would have been happy to move in the summer because I knew this season was going to be difficult in Italy but we couldn’t find a solution.”
“I am here at Watford hoping to play more,” he continued. “I am going to be 29 in May, I’m in the prime of my career and it’s been a bit frustrating because I have always played a lot for every club in my career.
“It’s been a bad situation because I haven’t been getting selected so I’m looking forward to this new challenge.”
Whilst he knew Pudil and Merkel before arriving, the player did not know head coach Beppe Sannino. But he claims being able to speak Italian and English has helped since his move – he is completely fluent in English as he spoke the language during spells in Turkey, Greece and Belgium.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a very successful career, playing in the Champions League at AEK Athens and Genk, and had made 20 appearances for his country, the last of which was in 2011.
However, after a positive start to life in Genoa in 2012, he only made four starts during the five months after Christmas that season before returning to the fold for the final few games of the campaign.
Tozser said he found himself in the “strange situation” of being out of the team without any explanation and was looking to leave in the summer. England was an obvious destination.
“For every child who starts to play football, the English league is where they want to play. Of course, I was always hoping to get the chance to play in England,” he said.
On adapting to the physical side of the English game, he added: “I think I can handle it, it is a part of football and I am looking forward to it.
“They say the Championship in England is slightly more physical than say the Championship in Holland but in my opinion, in today’s game if you are not ready to play physically then you are not ready to play. It is part of football everywhere.”
He rejected the chance to describe himself as a player, stating: “I don’t want to big myself up and then everybody is thinking ‘the new Zidane’ is here or something. I like working quietly and I like to do the things I do well, that’s all.”
Tozser can play on the left and said he would play wherever he is needed but did state he wants to be used through the middle. He could be considered a specialist defensive midfielder – and has been signed to play that role – but has been a box-to-box player in the past.
He joins a Watford squad which is multi-national and he did admit: “It is a bit difficult because there are a lot of foreign players from abroad so that is a bit strange.
“But I think they are all ready to play the English style, they are ready to learn, to learn the language and as a team we are pretty good.
“There are some funny guys and I think this is a fantastic team of personalities but the most important thing is to be a real team on the field.
“Maybe it would be better if we are not so nice with each other but as long as on the field we win the games then if we are good guys as well that is just a bonus.”
Despite it being his debut, Tozser’s leadership skills – he was captain of a successful Genk side – were evident on Sunday.
“Yes, maybe that is what they are expecting from me,” he said. “Before the game I was talking with Manu [Almunia] and he was trying to help me. It was my first game and he is more experienced than me and he tried to say a few words to me – he said to take care and that I should talk a lot, because for a player in my position this is very important.
“I know this [more leaders] is what they need so it is okay, I am happy to play that role too.”
On the subject of a permanent move and reaching the play-offs, the player, who appeared on Sky’s Soccer AM on a few occasions in 2011, stressed the need to take it “game-by-game”.
Tozser impressed on his debut but his head coach, Sannino, stressed his second match may be more difficult after being helped by “heart and adrenaline” at the weekend.
Speaking on Tuesday, Tozser said: “I feel good. I tried to work really hard in Italy for the last six months so I would feel good on the pitch now as the last time I played 90 minutes [before Brighton] was a long time ago.
“Every time I play I will feel better so I am looking forward to playing more. In the second half I had cramps, that is not a secret, but I think it is good to have cramp because it means you are working hard.
“I have experience so even if I’m a bit more tired at the moment, I can be a bit cleverer with my positioning. So I was happy I played 90 minutes.”
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