Marco Silva has announced Troy Deeney will remain Watford’s captain after the striker’s first-team place appeared to come under threat from the £18.5million arrival of Andre Gray.
The club’s new manager had previously refused to guarantee Deeney, 29, would lead his new-look team.
After a pre-season largely spent pursuing his favoured 4-3-3 formation with which he impressed at Hull, and after club-record signing Gray joined from Burnley to compete with Deeney for the lone central striker’s role, Silva also said the two players were unlikely to form a partnership.
Watford host Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday in the Portuguese’s first competitive game at the club, but even if Deeney misses out owing to a groin problem he will remain in the manager’s plans.
“He’s our player and our captain,” said Silva. “He’s important to us and is our captain and of course I want to keep him in the team.
“The last time I talked to you I said I don’t have reason to change our captain and I would talk to the players and let you know. He’s our captain, like Ben Watson and (Heurelho) Gomes are our sub-captains. I don’t have reason to change.”
Silva said Deeney has made good progress after groin surgery and trained with the first team for part of a session on Wednesday, with a decision to be made on Friday regarding whether he is fit to face Liverpool.
“If he progresses well in the next few days he will start full training,” said 40-year-old Silva. “It was not serious; when he comes he will be ready to help the team.”
Confirmation on Tuesday of the signing of the £13million Brazilian Richarlison provides Silva with a new option on the left of his front three, further increasing Watford’s competition for places.
Press Association Sport also understands they remain interested in recruiting Everton’s Aaron Lennon to start on the right, and Silva said: “Of course we worked with the pre-season in one system and it’s the system I’ve played during my career.
“We have one idea. Even if we play only one striker it’s impossible to prepare for a season with two strikers only, we need more strikers.
“It’s important to have solutions. Last season Watford signed two new attackers. One of these players, (M’Baye) Niang, left the club and now (Mauro) Zarate is injured.
“(Gray’s) a different player to Troy and (Stefano) Okaka. They have different types of games. He gives a different option. We will see if we play one striker or two.
“We need time, we need players to understand our ideas. But we won’t use it as an excuse, we want to work our players and give them our idea quickly.”