The new Hornets hero has taken the English Premier League by storm and warmed his way into the hearts of the club’s supporters with his quick feet and intelligence on the ball
Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis believes he would completely outclass compatriot Odion Ighalo if placed in a one versus one football match with the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top goalscorer.
A fan’s favourite at Vicarage Road, Ighalo scored 40 goals and added another 11 assists in 100 matches for Watford during a two-and-half-year stay at the club.
But Dennis is the new Nigerian hero at Watford, after a blistering start to life at a club he joined in the summer.
The 24-year-old has amassed four goals and five assists in just 11 EPL appearances and was the architect of the Hornet’s thrilling 4-1 win over Manchester United last weekend.
Watford fans have quickly taken to the former Club Brugge ace, many of whom asked him questions during a Q-and-A session on the Hive.
One fan wanted to know how Dennis would fare against Ighalo, to which the younger man modestly responded: “One versus one? I’d smoke him!”
The Nigerian international is one of the several players Watford signed during the last transfer window as the newly-promoted side prepared to adapt to life back in the top-flight.
Dennis appears to be the one thriving the most among the lot, and the versatile forward has revealed how he has been able to cope with the demanding English Premier League.
“It’s really tough; the intensity is really high,” Dennis observed.
“But I’m a very fast player, I love running, so I’m finding it easy, but there are a lot of quality players. Most players want to be in the Premier League. I’m here and happy.”
Because of his dribbling skills, Dennis often holds on to the ball more than his teammates would have liked. But he reveals that Watford head coach Claudio Ranieri is helping him get better on that front.
“[Ranieri] is an experienced manager and won the Premier League with a (Leicester City) team where it is difficult to win it,” Dennis added.
“I was really happy he came here. I just listen to him; what he says, I follow. In training, he calls me ’32 Touches’. I’m always on the ball having too many touches, but he’s trying to make sure I do things the right way.
“For me, sometimes I don’t care if there’s five defenders, I’ll try it, and if it works, it works. But sometimes, that’s hard for my teammates. He’s only been here for a few weeks, but it’s going really well.”
Dennis will look to continue his excellent form for Watford on Sunday afternoon when Ranieri takes the Hornets to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester, the team he led to a fairy-tale Premier League title.