WATFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Hector Bellerin of Watford in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and Reading at Vicarage Road on January 11, 2014 in Watford, England,  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Back at the Vic: 7 Current Premier League Stars You Didn't Know Had Loan Spells at Watford

Every team has had their fair share of loan players across the years, but Watford have let a few gems slip through their net.

The Hornets were once known for their loan system, and a few of their former loanees have gone on to make it big in the Premier League.

Watford have a history of signing their former loan players later in their careers, with past loanees Nathan Chalobah and Tom Cleverley now the focal point of their midfield.

Here are seven current Premier League stars that you might not have known had loan spells at Vicarage Road before they went on to success elsewhere.

1. Hector Bellerin

Hector Bellerin has only played for two football clubs in his senor career: Arsenal and Watford.

The 23-year-old full back was sent on loan to then Championship side Watford in November 2013 on a two-month deal, which was later extended to the end of the season.

The Spanish international played eight times for the Hornets before being recalled by his parent club Arsenal in February the following year.   

2. Danny Drinkwater

Then Manchester United midfielder Danny Drinkwater spent half a season on loan at Watford in 2011, making 19 appearances in all competitions.

The 28-year-old joined Leicester City in the following year, where he went on to play 193 times, winning the Premier League in 2016 in the process.

Drinkwater signed for Chelsea on a five-year deal for a reported fee of around £35m, but started just five Premier League games in 2017/18.

3. Danny Rose

Danny Rose joined Watford on loan in March for the remainder of the 2008/09 season, making seven appearances for Hornets under Brendan Rodgers.

The 27-year-old left back’s debut came in Watford’s 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Rose - despite injury woes - is now a regular for Tottenham Hotspur, where he has made over 100 appearances, and was named in Gareth Southgate’s 23 man squad for the World Cup in Russia this summer.   

4. Andros Townsend

Despite only being on the books for Tottenham Hotspur for seven years, Andros Townsend had nine loan spells away from the club, including a one-month stint with the Hornets.

The 26-year-old winger signed for then Championship side Watford in January 2011 for the remainder of the season, but his deal was terminated by his parent club after making just three appearances.

Townsend now stars for Crystal Palace, where he has made 72 appearances since joining the club in July 2016.  

5. Nathan Ake

The then Chelsea youngster completed a season long loan at Vicarage Road during the 2015/16 season, before joining Bournemouth permanently last summer.

Nathan Ake, who played primarily as a left back during the loan spell, made his debut in a League Cup tie against Preston North End, and went on to make 24 appearances for the Hornets, scoring once against Premier League giants Liverpool.

The Netherlands international impressed throughout the campaign, securing Watford’s Young Player of the Season award that season.  

6. Ben Foster

Then at Manchester United, goalkeeper Ben Foster spent two seasons on loan at Vicarage Road during the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons.

The now 35-year-old helped Watford achieve promotion to the Premier League after winning the Championship play-offs in 2006, as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-final in 2007 - which he couldn’t play as it was against his parent club United.

Foster was adored by the fans, even receiving the club’s Player of the Season award in his final spell at the Hornets.  

7. Jack Cork

Jack Cork has made 41 appearances across all competitions for Premier League high flyers Burnley this season, but once spent half a season on loan at Watford in 2009.

The England international signed on loan at Vicarage Road in January 2009, scoring his first goal for the Hornets in a 4-3 win against Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

After his 19 appearances for Watford, Cork signed a new three year contract at then parent club Chelsea.