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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 10:00 GMT
King relishes the Boothroyd touch
By Charlie Henderson

Watford striker Marlon King
When I knew I could play under Adrian Boothroyd again I couldn't say no
Marlon King
Striker Marlon King credits Watford's strong showing in the Championship to Adrian Boothroyd's managerial magic.

The Hornets were tipped to struggle, but they are presently on a four-game winning run and lie third in the table.

"He gives you belief there's nothing you can't do - he's the best manager I've worked with," King told BBC Sport.

"He has so much enthusiasm and he just wants you to go out there and not hold back on the things you want to try. It's good to see a manager like him."

The 25-year-old King has seen his fair share of managers in a career that has taken in Barnet, Gillingham, Nottingham Forest and Leeds as well as Watford.

He has scored seven goals since moving to Vicarage Road in the summer in a loan move from Forest which he hopes will become permanent in the January transfer window.

The move back south came about through a mix of reasons, on a personal level to be near his family and professionally to link up with former Leeds coach Boothroyd.

King spent a short loan spell at Elland Road at the back end of last season, arriving at the start of March.

Boothroyd left within the month to take the top job at Watford, but he had made an impression.

"I saw how everybody enjoyed coming into training, and when he left people like Gary Kelly and Lucas Radebe - players who played in the Premiership for years - were upset to see him leave," King explained.

ADRIAN BOOTHROYD
Aidy Boothroyd
Born: 8 Feb. 1971
Youngest league manager when he took over Watford on 29 March 2005
Now second youngest permanent manager and youngest in the first two tiers
Overall Watford record:
P28 W13 D9 L6
League this season:
P18 W9 D5 L4

"I saw the impact he had on players. He bought a certain atmosphere to the club and his training sessions were quality. When I knew I could play under him again I couldn't say no.

"He has different ideas about the game, so much enthusiasm and he doesn't hold anybody back - if you're good enough you're old enough.

"He likes people that excite him, he likes that energy and he likes people going out there and expressing themselves.

"And there's his man-management as well. For instance, if he drops a player he'll let you know the reasons why, whether it's strategy or if he doesn't believe you're playing well enough, no matter what, he'll pull you aside.

"Without that seasons and careers can be affected. Some managers don't understand that or that that can be the difference between players stepping up their performance. All they need to do is take their time and talk to players.

"I've played under quite a few different managers and not many would take the time to explain what's going right or wrong with your game.

"That guidance helps and the gaffer gives you that."

Boothroyd has fostered a tight team spirit since taking the Watford helm, a "family feel" that King is quick to praise for helping bring out the best in his game.

And he appreciates Boothroyd's acceptance of other views, an openess that ensured the squad changed their training routine during the international break.

It's good when you've got a team that wants to play for a manager
Marlon King

A month ago they were afforded four days off but failed to snap a run of six games without victory on their playing return.

Now, in an effort to maintain their winning run, players and staff met in the middle and they have been training as normal in readiness for Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

And King draws a parallel between his present boss and Andy Hessenthaler, who took his first steps on the managerial ladder during King's Gillingham days.

Both bosses were 34 when they stepped upstairs and King clearly benefits from the more democratic thinking of the modern manager than the more dictatorial approach of an old-school persuasion.

"When managers step into that role they are trying to build up their experience and I suppose you can only get it by learning from the players.

"You can't expect to know everything and for it all to fall into place. If you believe you can come in and things will just happen, it won't work."

It is working at the moment, for both King and Boothroyd.



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