Ashley Young ready for tough game at childhood club Watford

Manchester United defender says Marco Silva is proving a good manager for Watford

Watford v Manchester United

Venue: Vicarage Road

Kick off: 8.0pm

On TV: BT Sport 1


Ashley Young is expecting a tough evening when Manchester United head to childhood club Watford.

The winger-turned-full-back joined the Watford youth system aged 10 and was on the brink of being released at 16, only to grow and kick on to become a key first-team player.

Young eventually left for Aston Villa in 2007 but Watford retains a special place in his heart, even if the place is almost unrecognisable a decade on.

“I still do know a few [there] and I’ve still got friends who work there,” the United full-back said. “I talk to them now and again and see how things are going.

“Of course I love going back there. I was there from when I was 10 to 21.

“It is where I plied my trade as a kid and I learned the game in my early years so it is always nice to go back there – but it will be even better if we go back there and get three points.

“It’s going to be a tough game. The place has changed in the years since I left.

“They are doing well in the league so we know it is going to be another tough game.”

Jose Mourinho’s men suffered a shock 3-1 loss at Vicarage Road last season and can ill afford a repeat on Tuesday as runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City already boast an eight-point cushion.

Watford are the same distance in terms of points from Mourinho's side, sitting eighth in the standings after a fine start to the campaign under Marco Silva, whose work has piqued the interest of managerless Everton.

Lock horns

“He’s proving a good manager,” added Young, whose deflected shot secured a 1-0 win against Brighton on Saturday. “He has got them playing, scoring goals, winning games so they are doing well.

“But I always say we can’t concentrate on the other team. We know we are away but we still want to get all the three points.”

Silva will put his friendship with Mourinho on hold when the Portuguese coaches lock horns. Silva tests himself against the manager who recommended he accept an offer to take over as Watford boss in May and to whom he is being compared as the new “Special One”.

Ten months ago Silva masterminded Hull City’s 2-1 League Cup victory over Mourinho’s United and the 40-year-old has the similar outcome in mind at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night.

“This is a good opportunity for me to spend a little bit more time with him,” Silva said. “Before the game I’m sure we will stay together and chat a bit. We’ll talk a little bit with each other and once the match starts it is Watford against Manchester United.

“Our relationship is very good. We are friends. Okay, our life permits that you don’t stay together many, many times, but he is a very good person.

“He stays in his fight and I stay in mine as well. He is doing his job and the time is not good to talk with each other – normally we exchange some texts.

“When we play against one another I want to win. I want to take a good result and of course Mourinho does as well.”