Why Okoye, Kalu missed Watford’s EFL opener

Fresh facts have emerged on why Super Eagles duo Maduka Okoye and Samuel Kalu were left out of Watford’s match-day squad against Sheffield United on Monday.

Watford, who was relegated from the Premier League last season, made a winning start to life in the second-tier as Joao Pedro’s goal proved enough to beat Sheffield United in a highly-competitive Championship game at Vicarage Road on Monday.

Okoye was left out of the opening day win by manager Rob Edwards, with the starting position going to Daniel Bachmann. Eagles vice captain William Troost-Ekong was listed for the match but benched.

The Hornets’ sporting director, Cristiano Giaretta, eased supporters’ fears about the missing players, stating that they were left out due to the ‘Rule of 11.’

The Rule of 11 means that there can be no more than 11 non-homegrown players in a match-day squad.

Speaking on the club website, Giaretta said, “The rule of 11 will have some influence for now but we are all committed with Rob Edward’s aim of having only 11 non-homegrown players in the first-team squad after the window.

“It’s important we see August in a different way because things can still change until this month is over.”

Okoye signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Watford in January when he joined from Sparta Rotterdam for a fee of £5.1m just as Kalu signed a three-and-a-half-year deal from Bordeaux.

Watford will face Burnley in their next game at Vicarage Road on Friday and it remains to be seen if the pair will make the match-day squad.

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