Neglected Isaac Success should take a leaf out of Alex Iwobi’s book

Comments()
Getty Images
The Hornets attacker is clearly not fancied by Javi Gracia, and it may be time for him to depart Hertfordshire in search of ample gametime

When Troy Deeney got a cheap red card in Watford’s 1-0 defeat by Arsenal in the final weeks of last season, it seemed like the stars were aligning for Isaac Success to finally get a bit of match action, after a frustrating season being stuck on the bench.

At the time, Javi Gracia’s other forward, Gerard Deulofeu, was out injured, and it left the Spanish manager with only two fit forwards for his 4-2-2-2 system – Andre Gray and Success. The latter was introduced for the final half-hour against the Gunners as Gracia threw caution to the wind and chased an equalizer, even though they were undermanned.

In the 30 minutes the Nigeria forward spent on the pitch, he gave a good account of himself, showed great energy and even created a big chance for his strike partner, who fluffed his lines.

Having made an impression against Unai Emery’s troops, surely Success had done enough to start in the very next game against already-relegated Huddersfield Town?

Gerard Deulofeu, Watford

However, Gracia had other ideas, instead choosing to play a recuperating Deulofeu from the off against the Terriers, at the expense of the hale and hearty, but underused, Nigerian striker.

It spoke volumes that the coach elected to risk his sleek Spanish ace, with an important FA Cup final against Manchester City approaching, rather than give Success a little gametime as the campaign drew to a close. The rapid Deulofeu went on to score a brace in the 2-1 victory, which somewhat justified his manager's decision to throw him back in right after recovery, but it was to the former Granada man's detriment.

Statistics will show that Success featured in 30 Premier League games last season, one higher than Gray, the same number as Deulofeu and two fewer than Deeney. However, when looked at closer, it’s apparent the number of appearances is nothing but a ruse, as the forward played fewer minutes than all the other three forwards at the club.

The aforementioned got 1358, 2082 and 2548 minutes on the pitch, while Success only secured 1037 minutes of gametime, with the fewest number of starts among the quartet.

In Watford’s last games of the previous campaign, Gracia preferred to utilize the 23-year-old Nigerian as an impact player, evidenced by his cameos against Huddersfield, Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea.

Isaac Success of Watford

It doesn’t appear that things will change for the forward anytime soon either, with yet another cameo role handed to him in their season opener against Brighton & Hove Albion, a game Watford lost 3-0 at Vicarage Road. With Deulofeu handed a withdrawn role as an inside forward, the Hornets boss picked Gray to partner Deeney in attack, and it stayed that way until the final 15 minutes when the home side were already 2-0 down.

The arrival of Danny Welbeck will push the least preferred attacker in Gracia’s thoughts further down the pecking order, as he’d likely see even less time on the pitch with the acquisition of the former Arsenal forward. Ismaila Sarr, arriving from Ligue 1, also represents further competition for attacking minutes.

Consequently, it beggars belief that the Nigerian hasn’t actively sought a move from the Hertfordshire outfit given chances of playing regularly remain bleak, as he’s now likely to become fifth-choice attacker in his coach’s plans.

On Saturday's trip to Everton, Success missed out completely of the matchday squad, with his usual place on the bench taken by Welbeck, with the ex-Arsenal attacker also taking his No. 10 shirt.

Danny Welbeck, Arsenal

Gametime is surely set to be at a premium moving forward, barring a swathe of injuries.

With the Hornets losing 1-0, Gracia introduced the England forward for Will Hughes as he threw caution to the wind. Usually, it'd have been Success being introduced, but he may have to wait for the domestic cup competitions before seeing gametime.

Expected to feature for the Toffees at Goodison Park was Alex Iwobi, and while the attacking midfielder was an unused substitute, it's only a matter of time before he becomes a regular in Marco Silva's side.

The Arsenal academy graduate embraced the challenge of playing for the Merseyside club when his playing time in North London was threatened. The arrival of Nicolas Pepe from LOSC Lille, coupled with the existing attacking options at the Gunners, was likely going to have a negative effect on Iwobi featuring as often as he’d like.

Alex Iwobi

The ‘nutmeg prince’ wasn’t going to make do with a potential reduced role at his boyhood club and has been vocal about his ambition with Silva’s side.

“The offer [from Everton] was too attractive for me to turn down,” Iwobi told Everton TV. "The manager [Silva] was telling me, ‘There is a spot for you; we will take care of you. Basically, all the things you want to hear as a player.

“I always had that youngster tag at Arsenal, so hopefully with this move I am able to make a name for myself in the Premier League and create history with Everton.”

Iwobi’s seemingly taken his move to the blue half of Merseyside in his stride after years at Arsenal.

While Success hasn’t spent as long at Watford as his compatriot did in North London, the forgotten man must look to end his painful association with a club where he clearly isn't wanted or valued highly enough, for a much-needed change of scene. 

Close