Joel Ekstrand not surprised at Watford exit

The former Swedish international wasn't surprised that he was released by the Hornets.

Joel Ekstrand not surprised at Watford exit
Ekstrand has left Vicarage Road after four years there (Photo: Getty Images)

Defender Joel Ekstrand said that he wasn’t surprised after he was one of four players released by Watford at the start of July.

The 27-year-old says that he “knows the situation at the club”, and staying at Vicarage Road wouldn’t have been the place to stay to get his career back on track.

Ekstrand damaged his anterior cruciate ligament, meniscus and fractured a bone in his knee during a Championship match with Ipswich Town.

The defender made five appearances for the Under-21 side last season (Photo: Getty Images)
The defender made five appearances for the Under-21 side last season (Photo: Getty Images)

Five appearances for Under-21 side last season

Moving on a year, and the defender hasn’t played a single minute for the Hornets since the horrific injury, and the game with Ipswich turned out to be his last game.

Ekstrand made five appearances for Harry Kewell’s Under-21 side last season, however, it became clear towards the end of the season that his time with the Hornets would be coming to an end.

The former Sweden international spent four years with the Golden Boys, and the closest he came to making an appearance last season was when he marched the side out at the Emirates Stadium before the FA Cup quarter-final match with Arsenal.

Ekstrand made 32 appearances during his loan spell at the Hornets during the 2012-13 season, and after signing permanently the summer after, he made 57 appearances thereafter.

Watford have recently signed Belgium international Christian Kabasele (Photo: Getty Image)
Watford have recently signed Belgium international Christian Kabasele (Photo: Getty Image)

Ekstrand was realistic about his future

Former coach Quique Sanchez Flores, who is now in charge of Spanish outfit Espanyol, wanted the defender to stay with the club.

Ekstrand, who admitted that he was offered a new contract, said: “I’m realistic. I didn’t play for the whole season.

“My main thing now is to play and I don’t think Watford would have been the right place for me with their ambitions now – there are some good defenders which have come in.”

The defender claimed that he needs to play somewhere that he will have a “better chance of playing” and that is why he didn’t sign the contract he was offered.