Former Watford goalkeeper James Beasant talks about life at the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain

31 03 2011

Watford FC’s academy is often labelled as one of the most successful in the country but inevitably youngsters will be let go before they have a chance to challenge for the first-team.

Goalkeeper James Beasant – nephew of former Wimbledon and Nottingham Forest stopper Dave – was released by the club in May 2007 at the age of 18.

Now 21, Beasant is part of the Glenn Hoddle Academy based at the Montecastillo Resort in southern Spain.

“I was released by Watford because I couldn’t kick the ball far enough,” he told British Footballers Abroad. “I was at Watford for ten years so I was very disappointed but you’ve just got to take it on the chin, move on with your life and not dwell on it.

“I have many memories from Watford, for instance training with Alec Chamberlain, Ben Foster Richard Lee and Scott Loach every day. It was brilliant being involved with the first-team squad on match days and starting for the reserves at the age of 16 against a strong Chelsea team at Vicarage Road when I saved Carlton Cole’s penalty.

“I’m still in contact with a lot of people from Watford including some of the young players there. They are doing well this season; they have a very young squad and play without fear.”

After he was released, Beasant had spells with various clubs in England before linking up with the Glenn Hoddle Academy last summer.

The academy is the first of its kind, offering a route back into professional football for youngsters discarded by teams.

This season it is providing players for local side Jerez Industrial, allowing the cash-strapped club to fulfil its fixtures in the fourth tier of Spanish football.

“The set-up is excellent here,” he explained. “We stay in a villa and a 5-star hotel with food, football pitches, gym, sauna and a jacuzzi so we have everything we need on site.

“Of course it’s hard being away from friends and family but you just adapt to life out here; the lifestyle is very laid back and easy going.

“Because I play for a Spanish side I have to stay out here a lot and the only time I’ve been home is during the Christmas break and in the summer.”

Despite clearly enjoying life in Spain, Beasant admits he would like to return to his homeland and try and mirror the career that his uncle had.

“He [Dave Beasant] is the goalkeeper coach out here. He’s involved a lot as he is very experienced and has so much knowledge about the game. He is a massive inspiration to me. I’ve seen the amount of respect he has in the game and would like to have a career like him.

“In the future I would like to be an established goalkeeper at the highest possible level and would like it to be in England.”

Follow James on Twitter:!/BigBes89




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