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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Lewington praises in-form Webber
By Paul Fletcher

Danny Webber in action for Watford
Watford boss Ray Lewington has explained why Danny Webber has produced the sort of scoring form that has seen him short listed for a BBC award.

Webber is up for the BBC London Young Footballer of the year, along with Jose Antonio Reyes and Jermain Defoe.

And Lewington said: "He has got mind and body right this year and is showing the potential we all knew he had. He is doing extremely well.

"And this season Danny is scoring tap ins as well as spectacular goals."

Webber is the Championship's top scorer with nine goals and is a major factor behind the Hornets excellent start to the season.

The 22-year-old joined Watford permanently in July 2003 after two successful spells on loan from Manchester United.

Lewington was as surprised as anyone when the Manchester-born forward was allowed to leave Old Trafford.

"I didn't really feel we had a chance of doing a permanent deal then surprisingly Man Utd opened the door and we got in," said Lewington.

I think Danny sees us as a good stepping stone
Ray Lewington

"We were a little bit surprised at Danny wanting to come but he is one of those players who has to feel comfortable where he is and he enjoyed himself here on loan."

But the first season was a personal and professional nightmare.

The forward's best friend Jimmy Davis, who was on loan at Watford, died in a car crash on the eve of the season.

Webber still had a pin in his leg after breaking it the previous season and he suffered a dislocated shoulder during the campaign.

"He had an awful time last year for a variety of reasons," added Lewington.

But it is a revitalised Webber we are seeing this season in a team that has so far exceeded expectations, currently lying eighth in the table.

"The team have done well. Lots of people were expecting us to be down in the bottom three and a few were tipping us for relegation.

"But we have only conceded six in 10 games and have always looked threatening at the other end.

"We have made ourselves harder to beat and defender Brynjar Gunnarsson, who has come in from Stoke, has given us a steady look while Webber has played a big part in the way we have taken our chances."

But Webber's form so far has not gone unnoticed and Lewington is honest enough to admit that the forward will eventually join a Premiership club.

"I have no doubt that he feels he will end up in the Premier League and I think he will do," said the Hornets boss. "I think he sees us as a good stepping stone."






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