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Micah Hyde
Position: Midfield
From: Cambridge United - £150,000 - July 1997
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Every-f***ing-where


Micah Hyde? The jury's still out.

Too inconsistent, great slumps in form during which his game becomes too shaky to hold down such a pivotal role. Too careless, disastrous errors at horribly inappropriate moments. Too shot-shy, not scoring enough goals for an essentially attacking player. Blah blah blah, drone drone drone, ad infinitum.

The jury's still out? Not at BSaD Towers it bloody isn't. Micah Hyde, unquestionably the most underrated member of this Championship and playoff winning squad, is twenty-four carat class.

You don't achieve what we've achieved without a midfield that's up to the task. Amid all the overdue praise for the Aussie half of the duo, Hyde has been left behind...and unfairly so. Ready to right some wrongs? Okay, let's go....

Richard Johnson and Micah Hyde fit together like two pieces of a jigsaw. Johnson's weighty anchoring, Hyde's delicate touch; Johnson's vast play-spreading, Hyde's swift interplay; Johnson's defensive cover, Hyde's offensive support; Johnson's endless hassling, Hyde's endless hassling. Perhaps coincidental - after all, when Graham Taylor went shopping for a midfielder and found what he wanted in Cambridge, Johnson was a far from automatic choice in most people's eyes - but nonetheless true. They've grown together, a team within a team, and they're the foundation of our recent success.

The occasional howlers - extremely visible, because he's that kind of player - are a small price to pay. "Not so very long ago, Watford players were frequently guilty of under-elaboration" as I said in his previous BSaD profile. The only way to avoid making errors is to do nothing risky, Penrice-style, and I trust that none of us want to go back to the bad ol' days when our midfield had all the inventive dynamism of soggy lettuce. Hyde has ideas, that's not something which should be used as a criticism.

Focus on him next time, take a closer look at what he's doing. The constructive link-up play, the unseen chasing, the firm tackling, the darting movement, that lovely now-you-see-it-and-now-you-don't trick when he's closed down, the buzzing presence at the heart of this Watford side. Week in, week out. The inconsistency is a myth, based on the headlines rather than the full story.

Worship him while you can. After all, there might be another decade of Geoff Pitcher and Steve Talboys just around the corner....

Ian Grant