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Richard Johnson and Jimmy Gilligan take up roles in Watford’s academy

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(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Watford have appointed former players Richard Johnson and Jimmy Gilligan to new leading roles in the club’s academy.

Ex-Hornets midfielder Johnson has been named academy director and former striker Gilligan will take up the role of head of technical development.

Watford said on their official website: “Players representing both eras of Graham Taylor-inspired management will form an exciting new-look academy leadership structure at Watford FC, with youth-team products Richard Johnson and Jimmy Gilligan appointed to newly-created roles.”

Australian Johnson made 242 league appearances for Watford between 1991-2003 and Gilligan spent four seasons in the first-team squad after progressing through the club’s academy.

Johnson said: “I feel very honoured to serve our club as academy director having first joined when I was only 16 years old.

“I came through the youth system and went on to play for nearly 12 years, so I know what it feels like to make that journey.”

Watford finished second in the Sky Bet Championship this season to bounce straight back to the Premier League at the first attempt.