The Monday Profile: Marvin Sordell
Different folk cope with the absence of football during the summer in different ways. Some make futile attempts to build up a credit of brownie points in time for the new season. Other desperate souls resort to watching cricket. But all of us pore over the rumours of summer signings and immerse ourselves in speculation like recovering addicts seeking a cure for the craving.
It’s becoming a traditional summer pursuit for Watford supporters to wonder where the goals are going to come from in the forthcoming season. The summer of 2010 was the third running in which we’d pondered such concerns; Danny Graham had been an undoubted success, but had endured a barren spell mid-season that mirrored a goal drought at Carlisle during the previous campaign, prior to his recruitment. He had been ably supported by the likes of Heidar Helguson, Tom Cleverley and Henri Lansbury but all three had returned to parent clubs, whilst the Hornets had finally given up on expensive punt Will Hoskins, released to join Bristol Rovers after three-and-a-half years of looking like he might be getting it together and then not.
The solution arrived on the day our season started, or appeared to. Troy Deeney’s recruitment had been long-trailed; his signing, for a fee that might not have been as generous at the outset as Walsall chose to report, was completed just in time for Deeney to hot-foot it to Norwich for an evening kick-off. Not unreasonably, Malky Mackay reasoned that after a hectic day, his new signing might be better off started from the bench.
Deeney’s place went to nineteen year-old Marvin Sordell. Having made his first inroads into the senior team last season, nicking a couple of goals in the process, Sordell had already become a reasonably familiar name, even to those of us whose knowledge of the stiffs is based on headlines and captions in match programmes. Joining Watford after Fulham failed to offer him a scholarship three years ago, Sordell struggled to settle initially but gradually emerged as a regular goalscorer for our junior sides. His first senior goal in a League Cup tie at Elland Road at the start of last season preceded a two-month loan spell at Tranmere that he cites as significant in his development. Back at Watford, he grabbed his first League goal for the Hornets in the final day romp at Coventry.
Sordell always looked like being more involved during this campaign, but he made the most of the chance that the delay of Deeney’s signing provided. Quick, alert and with excellent close control he provides a more obviously complementary foil to Danny Graham than the iconic, aggressive but somewhat slower Helguson had done last year. Sordell played his part in the surprise win at Carrow Road and has started every game since bar one… in which he came off the bench to turn a game that should have been won against Doncaster, scoring his first (stunning) goals at Vicarage Road in the process. These are two of six in all competitions to date, and if Sordell is still a little raw – his decision making isn’t always the best – the knowledge that Deeney has been brought off the bench in his stead seven times already is surely focussing his attention. Suddenly Watford don’t just have a credible forward line, we have proper competition for places… and in Sordell, one of a number of exciting prospects from an increasingly prolific production line, a star of the future.