Gerard Deulofeu insists he is relishing the prospect of a Premier League dogfight after trading in the might of Barcelona for Watford.
Deulofeu, the 23-year-old Spaniard who had two spells at Everton as well as a stint with AC Milan, has played alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez this season at the Nou Camp.
But after agreeing a loan move to Vicarage Road in the closing days of the transfer window, Deulofeu will spend the next passage of his career linking up with Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue.
Deulofeu has featured 17 times for Barcelona this season, but has played just nine minutes of football since November, and is desperate to prove himself at Vicarage Road in the hope of making Spain’s World Cup squad.
“I know I’m coming from Messi, Suarez and Andres Iniesta, but I’m here now,” Deulofeu said. “I know about the situation at Barcelona.
“I came knowing Neymar was in the team. After Neymar went [to PSG] Ousmane Dembele arrived and then Philippe Coutinho.
“If you want to be in the top teams, you know you have good competition for your place, but in the last two months, I didn’t play. I don’t have confidence so my solution is to come here, and to regain that confidence.
“I want to play more minutes. I’m a player who doesn’t want to stay on the bench or not in the squad. I’m happy to be here and I want to work.”
Deulofeu was handed his debut for Watford in their goalless draw at Stoke, and is expected to start for the visit of Chelsea to Vicarage Road on Monday night.
Watford have won just one match from their last 12 league fixtures – with Javi Gracia replacing Marco Silva after he was sacked last month – and Deulofeu has vowed to hit the ground running in order to play his part in securing Watford’s top-flight status.
“I don’t have time,” Deulofeu added. “I want to play well now, right now. I have to adapt to my new team and to my new team-mates.
“I’m 23 and I have played in the Premier League, in La Liga and in Italy. I have experience. Against Chelsea it’s a great opportunity for me and for the team to show our best level.
“I’m confident in Watford. I’m confident in myself, so I want to take the first win as soon as I can.”