The mid-November day was just like any other for the Watford players who were not on international duty. The Hornets had secured a crucial victory over Norwich City the week before. But, for one person on the training ground, the day was unforgettable. On the 15th of November, 2019, George Langston signed his first professional contract with Watford.
The now 18-year-old defender was an integral part of the Club’s run to the semi-finals in the 2018/19 FA Youth Cup. He joined the Hornets in 2016, following time with Tottenham Hotspur’s youth ranks.
This season, Langston has trained frequently with the Hornets’ first team. Club management then determined he was ready to compete outside of just youth competition. On deadline day, he was sent on a short-term loan to National League club Wealdstone FC.
Watford Opinions had the honour of being able to ask Langston a range of questions – and would like to offer a tremendous thank you to Langston for his effort, honesty, and time. From major influences to trickiest players to excitement about his loan, be sure to read what Langston shared.
Langston On Playing With The First Team
Training with the senior squad is a huge step forward for any young player. From club veterans to players with high-profile careers to multi-million-pound signings, practicing with the first team offers an array of players to look up to. For Langston, the player he most admires and tries to replicate is Craig Cathcart.
“Whenever you see him around the training ground – and I’ve been lucky enough to train with him this season – everything he does is for a purpose and is very professional,” explains Langston. “He works very hard and that is what I aspire to be and to carry those morals throughout my career.”
When asked about the trickiest player to defend against in training, Langston’s response might not be surprising.
“In the first team, they all have brilliant ability and are tough to mark but for me, the toughest was João Pedro. The way he always had control of the ball and knew how to dictate a defender was unbelievable. He was really a tough test – not to mention his movement in the box as well.”
But, Pedro is not the only player for whom Langston had tremendous praise. He made sure to give plaudits to his teammate in the youth ranks.
“In academy levels, I would say the trickiest player is Sonny-Blu Lo-Everton; like Pedro, he has the ball at his feet and is always in control of the situation. Sometimes, in training, the coaches call him ‘glue foot,’ as the ball is stuck to his feet when he dribbles.”
From White Hart Lane To Vicarage Road
One might expect switching from Tottenham to Watford to be a sizeable shift with a difficult transition. Langston, however, feels the move was smooth and another step in the right direction.
“I wouldn’t say the transition was difficult because both academies wanted to play good football. The one difference I would say is at Tottenham, they focused on individual skills – whether this is dribbling or skill moves at a young age, along with some short-range passing.
“At Watford, they really wanted to pass the ball about and be in a passing team which I liked. This [passing philosophy] started to help me develop tactically.”
Langston then mentioned how the timing/age of his academy switch might have been the reason for the differentiation in focus, rather than the clubs having starkly different approaches to youth development.
Although Langston is still in the earliest stages of his professional career, it is safe to say he has already had a few considerable highlights.
“I would say signing my first professional contract at Watford is probably the highlight of my career so far. Especially being a local boy to Watford, it meant that little bit more to me,” explained the son of former Watford player Matthew Langston.
“Some honourable mentions have to be training with the first team for a period of time and learning off of them. The FA Youth Cup run in the 2018/19 season when we went to the semi-finals was just unbelievable and is a very, very close second. The whole journey was one of a kind and one that will live with me and is full of fond memories.”
On The Loan To Wealdstone
Langston’s feelings about his current loan-spell epitomize the youngster’s prospects. He has already made his league debut for the fifth-tier side – earning a place in the National League Team of the Week in the process.
“[I am] really excited, as it is a very new experience and environment that I will be in,” exclaimed Langston. “I think it will help me massively; not just on the physical side, but mentally, as well as helping me to improve as a footballer overall. It will be a good test for me and one I want to try!”
His first loan as a professional footballer will further help him on his positive trajectory. If Watford and Langston continue to forge a strong relationship, the defender would love to stay at Vicarage Road in the long run. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: keep an eye on his progression. Langston’s exciting past and willingness to learn, adapt, and overcome, signals he has all the tools necessary to perform at the highest level in the future.