From: Youth Team
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Our other striker
Past Profiles: September 2004
Hameur Bouazza made his first appearances in the Watford first team during the second half of the 2003-04 season. Portents of promise from youth team and reserve reports had preceded him, not least an eye-catching performance at a reserve-team pre-season friendly at AFC Wimbledon in the summer of 2003. He proceeded to score during his first start against Preston, and won the Young Player of the Season award at the end of that campaign.
His assets were immediately evident. Extremely quick, deceptively strong (and on the limited evidence so far, stronger still since the close season of 2005) with a decent touch and, on a good day, a quite arrogant swagger, he's a right pain in the arse for any defender. However, a lower-key 2004-05 season in general was slightly tarnished by a less positive revelation. For all his natural ability, Hameur does tend to be reluctant to shoot...
Which is a bit of a bugger for a striker really. Perhaps no coincidence is that we're increasingly seeing Hameur deployed in a wide left position, using his pace and good feet to commit defenders when cutting inside rather than making for the byline. It's not as if he can't shoot either... a fine, fine goal at Reading in the League Cup last season dispels that theory, as did a scud of a volley against Cambridge in the previous round, beaten over by the United keeper.
A confidence thing, perhaps, and one which we can only hope he overcomes... there's potentially a very fine striker in there somewhere, as occasional rumours of outside interest (from Fulham and Wolves at various times during 2005) will testify. Betty's enthusiasm for youth and pace suggests Hameur will be around for a while yet; and he's still only twenty, with time to learn and grow. As the first choice deputy striker in the squad as I type, however, and a nailed-on certainty for a place on the bench at least, we could do with him learning sooner rather than later.
Last updated: September 2005