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MLS Forecaster: Playoff projections

Gold Cup
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By ESPN Staff

Watford's Bouazza in international dilemma

Watford's rising star Hameur Bouazza faces an international dilemma after being offered the chance to play for Algeria.

The 21-year-old French winger was born in Evry near Paris, but his parents are from Algeria - and the football authorities from the north African country have sounded out Bouazza about turning his back on his homeland.

Bouazza is likely to be included in the Watford team to face Premiership champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday - and the pacy wide man could consult their France international Claude Makelele about his chances of representing Les Bleus.

'I've had a call from the Algerian FA, and I don't know what to do,' Bouazza admitted. 'I'm still only 21.

'I will speak to (Watford manager) Adrian Boothroyd and see what his advice would be.

'We play Chelsea on Saturday, too, so I hope to speak to Claude Makelele after the game, and I might ask him about the situation.

'My dream has always been to play for the French national team. I will just have to see how things fall for me.'

Although Watford were knocked out of the Carling Cup on penalties by Newcastle in midweek, they have been beaten only once in their last seven league matches, and they appear to be turning the corner.

Last weekend's 2-0 win over Middlesbrough - their first in the league this season - lifted Boothroyd's team out of the bottom three, although few would expect them to leave Chelsea with anything other than a defeat.

The absence of main striker Marlon King for the rest of the season with a knee injury is a major cause for concern, but Boothroyd can draw optimism from the form of young players such as Bouazza and Ashley Young.

It has been a remarkable turnaround for Bouazza, whose Vicarage Road career appeared to be heading down a blind alley when he was sent on loan to Swindon in October 2005.

But Bouazza has improved to such a degree he is now a regular for the Hornets.

He added: 'I went to Swindon to get my confidence back, and when I returned to Watford, the manager gave me the chance to play.

'I proved to him that I could play in the Premiership for this team.'