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Zola hopeful on McEachran's short-term injury and long-term development prospects

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Laurence Griffiths

Nothing builds expectation like having an impressive Champions League appearance at the age of 17.  Three years later, Josh McEachran is still trying to live up to that one night in Marseille.

The latest step in that quest has been a return to the Championship for a second successive season, this time to learn from the legendary Italian magician Gianfranco Zola himself.  While McEachran's year away in Middlesborough was mostly successful, the hope is that Josh will now make a similarly-sized leap as Nathaniel Chalobah did last year.

"We are pleased to have him here. He is the type of player who could fit in well with the squad. He will have to work hard because he has a lot of competition here but he is talented and we like having talented people here."

"Josh will have to work on his game because he certainly has some issues in his game he needs to improve but we are looking forward to helping him develop."

-Gianfranco Zola; source: Watford Observer

Josh's early season has been beset by niggling injuries.  He picked up an ankle injury in the season's first Chelsea U21 match and followed that up with a round of back spasms a couple weeks later.  It was the latter, which flared up on Tuesday forcing McEachran off early as Watford lost to Norwich City (after extra time!) in the League Cup.  Zola is hopeful of having the young midfielder back for this weekend however.

"It is not as bad as we thought. Yesterday (Wednesday) he was much better and the medical team told me he would return to training tomorrow (Friday) so he could be available against Wigan."

-Gianfranco Zola; source: Watford Observer

It's nice to know that at least one of our 20-year-old promising midfielders has managed to avoid a long-term, potentially career-impacting injury.