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Waterford sign promising ex-Ireland underage international and West Brom midfielder Elbouzedi

The 20-year-old joins Waterford off the back of an impressive 2018 where the club sealed Europa League football for next summer.

Elbouzedi celebrates scoring for Ireland's U19s against Austria in September 2016.
Elbouzedi celebrates scoring for Ireland's U19s against Austria in September 2016.
Image: FAI

WATERFORD HAVE AGREED a deal to sign former West Brom midfielder and Ireland U19 international Zack Elbouzedi.

The 20-year-old joined the Baggies in 2015 and spent two years on the clubs books, moving to Inverness in 2017 where he made four appearances and spent a short loan spell at Elgin City in the Scottish fourth tier.

The Dubliner moved to the Hawthorns from Malahide United and is known for his pace and technical ability.

“I’m delighted to get everything done and it’s great to have my future sorted,” he said. “I’m excited by what Waterford has to offer and I’m looking forward to next season.

“Everything is really professional here: the training pitches, the stadium, it’s as good as most English clubs. I came up, had a look at the facilities and I was really impressed – I spoke to Alan [Reynolds] and I’m really looking forward to seeing what next season holds.”

DrayQdTWkAIpv4r Waterford manager Alan Reynolds and new signing Zack Elbouzedi.

Waterford were promoted to the Premier Division a year ago and enjoyed an extremely successful first campaign back in the top-flight of Irish football.

Earning 18 wins from 36 games, the RSC side finished in fourth place — earning a European spot which now guarantees their place in the first round of Europa League qualifiers next summer.

Obviously the European football is a big plus and it’ll be nice to experience that,” added Elbouzedi. “It’s amazing where the club has come from in the last few years and it’s important that as a club we push on.

“I just want minutes on the pitch now. I was at West Brom but it’s so hard to break into a Premier League team, then went to Inverness and I was flying at the start but got injured. So, I’m hoping to get into the team and get a run of games.

“I’m looking forward to getting into pre-season training, meeting everybody else around the club and getting ready for the start of the season.”

03983463 Elbouzedi in action for Inverness in 2017. Source: Ken Macpherson

Manager Reynolds led the Munster club to the SSE Airtricity League First Division title in 2017 and has ambitions to build on the club’s top-four finish this season. 

Elbouzedi has represented Ireland at U15, U16, U17 and U19 level, and the Waterford boss said that the midfielder will be an important asset in the final third next season.

We’re delighted to welcome Zack to the club — he’s a great signing for us and he’s delighted to be here,” Reynolds said.

“He’s a player who we think will really excite the fans, he’s quick and likes to attack and that’ll suit us. Zack has been over in England with West Brom and in Scotland too; even at 20 years of age, he brings experience to the club.

“He’s a quick, powerful midfielder who likes to get forward and he’ll be a great asset to us this season.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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