Okoye elated to achieve England dream, eyes Watford promotion to Premier League

Watford sign Maduka Okoye.Watford.

Watford goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has revealed every player in the squad's target is to help the club earn promotion straight back to the Premier League.

The 22-year-old Nigeria custodian signed for the Hornets from Sparta Rotterdam during the last transfer window, but he was loaned back to the Dutch side to end the season with them.

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Okoye has now linked up with Watford squad ahead of the new season, where the Hornets will feature in the EFL Championship after they were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the last campaign.

Asked what Watford would want to achieve ahead of the new season, Okoye said as quoted by Watford Observer: “I think in every player’s head is going back up to the Premier League. It’s important to have ambition.

“On a personal level, I just want to help fulfil that ambition for the other players and the club. The more playing time the better, but most of all I want to see myself grow as a person and a goalkeeper.

“If I can get playing time and improve then that is fantastic.”

Okoye further discussed his dream of playing in England, insisting he now has the chance to make it work.

“I grew up watching English football and it was always a dream to play in this country,” Okoye, who was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, continued.

“It does still feel like it’s a bit of a dream even now, so I need a few weeks of being around the training ground to remind me that I’m here now and I’ve made the step to English football.

“As a kid, it was English football I wanted to play in and now I’m going to put the work in to make that happen.”

Okoye admits he watched every Watford game during the last campaign so as to connect with the players ahead of his switch to the club.

“Yes, I saw almost every Watford game, trying to watch as much video footage as possible,” added Okoye. “It was important for me to try and connect with the team even though I hadn’t arrived.

“I did also come over here for a little bit of treatment on a small shoulder problem towards the end of last season. The club did a fantastic job and I was able to meet a few people.”

On whom he rates as his goalkeeping hero, Okoye said: “Easy... Dida! I don’t even need to think about that answer,” he said while referring to the Brazilian legend, who featured for AC Milan in Italy's Serie A.

“When I was young I always wanted to be him. I loved AC Milan back then and he was a legend, a real beast in goal. People did call me the ‘young version of Dida’, which I liked.”

Watford, under the leadership of new manager Rob Edwards, will kick off their campaign to earn promotion to the top-flight with a game against Sheffield United at Vicarage Road on August 1, before they travel to face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on August 6.

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