Riza 'hurt and disappointed' to be sacked by Watford after six years

Omer Riza: Also worked with England U16s and U17s

Omer Riza: Also worked with England U16s and U17s

OMER RIZA has expressed his 'hurt' at being sacked as Watford Assistant after almost six years with the club.

The Pro Licence holder was promoted to first-team duties when Valerien Ismael was appointed Head Coach in June 2023. He had originally joined in August 2018 as U16s Head Coach and went on to become U23s Lead.

However, following Ismael’s sacking after less than nine months last weekend, Riza was dismissed, along with fellow Assistant Dean Whitehead and Analyst Jack Riley.

Writing on LinkedIn, Riza said: “Obviously very disappointed with the decision to be relieved of my position at Watford. I felt I was the person for continuity at the club since being there for six years. Maybe it should have been my time to take the team and continue on the journey that I love.

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“For whatever reason, it wasn’t to be and it hurts, but I need to take it all onto my next objective. Looking for a Head Coach position where I can apply my processes, my experience my knowledge and above all my humility. It’s not just a game, it’s more than that.”

The decision to sack Riza again highlights how precarious first-team roles can be, with Academy staff generally in a safer position.

Following Ismael's sacking, Tom Cleverley has been promoted to Interim Head Coach at Watford, with Armand Kavaja, who was his assistant with the U18s, and Damon Lathrope, who is the Women’s Head Coach, as his assistants.

Jimmy Gilligan, the club’s Head of Technical Development, has taken on the interim role of Technical Consultant. Lead Academy Analyst Chris Douglas, who only joined in January from Reading, has been promoted to First-Team Analyst.

Watford have now had 11 Head Coaches since 2018.

READ MORE: Watford staff profiles

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