Ashley Young has said he would “walk from Italy” to Watford were he offered the chance to return to the club he started his career with.
The Inter winger came through Watford’s youth system to make his professional debut in 2003 and went on to feature 107 times in all competitions before he left for Aston Villa four years later.
Young joined Inter in January and has a contract that runs until the end of the season, and while he has been a key player for the Serie A side, he would jump at the chance to move back to Vicarage Road.
“If I could go back and play [at Watford] again, I would walk from Italy right now because it’s what I know, it’s where I come from and it’s what allowed me to be who I am and get where I am,” he told the club’s podcast Golden Tales.
“It gave me a humble beginning.”
Young won promotion to the Premier League with Watford in 2006 and stayed for one more season before making the switch to Villa, where he spent four years before moving to Manchester United.
But the England international’s career could have gone a completely different way had he accepted an offer from Tottenham or West Ham the year before he left Watford.
“There was interest from West Ham at the time, there was interest from Aston Villa, there was talk of Tottenham,” he added.
“My agent coming to tell me about the interest, as a youngster you’re like: ‘Wow, that’s amazing to hear of teams of that stature wanting to talk to you’. But on the other hand, it was: ‘No, Watford is my club, I don’t want to leave. I’ve just got promotion with a club I started at when I was 10, I’m not ready to leave’.
“I know I’m an ambitious person, I know the Premier League is where I was going, bigger clubs, of course, but it’s not where I wanted to go.
“Eventually I wanted to go, but at the time it was: ‘No, this journey with Watford is still going, I’ve got unfinished business’.
“I sat down with Aidy [Boothroyd, then-Watford manager] and I said to him obviously there’s interest and he said to me: ‘There’s obviously interest in you’.
“I said: ‘That’s all well and good, but until you turn around and tell me to leave, I’m not going anywhere, because of how I bought into the way you work, all these players, I love the club’.
“I loved everything about the club, to this day I love everything about the club. It’s what I say is home for me.”