Emerson Palmieri is new to England and the Premier League and so to find out a little more about the left-sided player, we spoke to a man who knows him well, Toni Rudiger.
Emerson and Rudiger were team-mates at Roma for a couple of seasons before the German’s move to Stamford Bridge last summer. It is a path Emerson has now taken too, one of three January acquisitions the Blues made.
It remains to be seen whether he will feature at some stage at Vicarage Road today, but judging from Rudiger’s words when he sat down with the official Chelsea website this week, we have plenty to look forward to.
‘He’s a player who did very well at Roma, especially last season,’ comments Rudiger. ‘
‘We played in Rome with the same system as we do here, so he was the left wing-back. Most of the time I was playing on the left of the back three so I was next to him, and he was a big help.
‘He’s good at the offensive part, and also good at the defensive part. He is not afraid to make tackles, and he can play one against one because he’s physically good. He also has good pace. For me he is a very good young player with potential.’
In our first interview with Emerson he spoke about the close relationship he enjoyed with Rudiger in the Italian capital, and he also revealed he had spoken to the defender in the days leading up to the transfer being completed.
‘I just told him, "You have to decide for yourself",' Rudiger says of the conversations they had.
‘I could have said whatever I wanted, but he had to listen to his feelings. I told him that maybe this chance comes only one time in life.
‘I told him about the league. It’s one of the best leagues, and Chelsea is a good club. Of course Roma are a good club as well, but for this kind of decision you must decide for yourself.
‘He is a very, very humble guy,’ Rudiger adds. ‘To help him is a duty for me. Me and him were very close in Rome, and I want it to be the same here. I want to be like a big brother for him.’
Rudiger notes another thing the pair have in common: they both suffered an ACL injury and six months later moved to Chelsea. Rudiger recovered well from his setback and has impressed in his first few months in south-west London, and he says Emerson has put in so much effort to do likewise and get back to top form.
That is also what the team will be trying to do in Watford and we conclude the interview by getting Rudiger’s verdict on the trip to Hertfordshire. His message is short and clear.
‘It’s very important, especially after a game we lost and at home. We were very, very disappointed. So we have to be mentally ready.’