Watford appoint new club captain after Cleverley retires
Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann has signed a new five-year contract with Watford – and head coach Valerien Ismael has appointed him club captain.
The 29-year-old missed only one league game last season, sitting out the 2-2 draw at Coventry City after being sent off against Huddersfield the week before.
Bachmann joined Watford from Stoke City in summer 2017, but other than being on the bench nine times he didn’t feature in his first season.
He spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premier League, where he made 28 first-team appearances.
He made his Watford debut the following season, playing in both FA Cup Third Round ties against Tranmere Rovers.
The 2020/21 season saw Bachmann make his league debut, replacing the injured Ben Foster for the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on January 16.
He went on to make 26 appearances that season, 23 of them in the Championship, as the Hornets secured promotion back to the Premier League.
Bachmann kept his place at the start of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign but Foster was recalled in mid-September after a run of three defeats.
Foster was between the posts for the majority of the season, and Bachmann finished with a total of 13 outings, 12 of them in the league.
The departure of Foster last summer coincided with the signing of Nigerian international keeper Maduka Okoye, but head coach Rob Edwards named Bachmann as his first-choice keeper before the season started.
He kept a total of 16 clean sheets as both Slaven Bilic and Chris Wilder kept him as their starting keeper after Edwards had departed
An Austrian international, Bachmann had been capped by his country from Under-16 to Under-21 level before earning his first senior cap in a 1-0 friendly defeat to England at Wembley in February 2021.
He has 13 caps in all and played in all four of Austria’s game at the Euro 2020 Finals.
However, his last appearance for Austria was against Scotland in a friendly in March last year, though he was on the bench for their last two Euro 2024 qualifiers in June.
Ismaël said: “It’s a clear commitment from Dan to the club and, for me, he is the obvious choice for captain of the squad.
“He’s the longest-serving player here and he will be very important as a leader who understands not just English football but the Championship specifically.
“I believe he knows it is his time to take this responsibility and I am sure he will step up to the challenge with the support of the player leadership group.”
As part of his appointment of Bachmann as captain, Ismaël has confirmed the leadership group for 2023/24, made up of the following players:
- Daniel Bachmann (Club Captain)
- Ben Hamer
- Wesley Hoedt
- Jake Livermore
- Imrân Louza
- Ken Sema
The head coach said: “It’s very important that we have a link between the staff and the team.
“The leadership group have a big responsibility to set the standards of behaviour around the club, not just on the field but off it as well.
“They will be our biggest ambassadors in the community, followed by everyone else in the squad, because we have to make a close connection with all our supporters if we want to be successful.”