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Jan 24, 2020, 6:38:00 AM

Deeney Accepts Challenge on Team’s Comeback

Hornets’ captain Troy Deeney has embraced the challenge in Watford’s quest to come back after spending half of the ongoing season in the relegation.

Troy Deeney recently moved up on the club’s all-time league goalscorers after the team’s win over the Cherries. He tied with Ross Jenkins when he drained that goal in the 65th minute that put the Hornets ahead of the Cherries by 2-0.

Tommy Barnett (144) and Luther Blissett (148) are the only players who are sitting above Deeney, who had his 118th goal for the club in their win against Bournemouth.

For Deeney, it was more than just scoring and making records on the team. It was all about improving and winning more.

‘I'm closing in. The pressure is on for me to keep delivering. You can't just do it in little patches. That's seven games back for me now and four goals. Performances will take care of the goals. I'm putting myself about and the gaffer demands it off me’, said Deeney in an interview after the team’s win. ‘He makes sure I'm still working, still running, still putting my body on the line. I'm working as hard as I can and as smart as I can. I had a couple of days [off this week] to rest the knee and it paid dividends’.

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Pearson’s guidance definitely put the team on the winning track. It was not long before the team struggled a lot when they were playing for former Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores in the first half of the season.

‘You can look and identify lots of different things (behind the turnaround) but look at the lads coming off the bench. Maxi (Pereyra) is tracking back in the bottom corner and then getting his goal. Andre (Gray) is trying to get his goal, Domingos (Quina) is coming on and doing the dirty stuff well’, Deeney explained. ‘It's about a mindset and when you come in now, you can't just coast through games. The boys are putting in a high level of work rate and you've got to match that. When you step on and wear a Watford shirt, you have to match these standards’.

True enough, the team has improved a lot on both sides of the field. Being Pearson’s on-field lieutenant, Deeney has been helping him in passing the message of energy and mentality across the whole squad.

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‘If I'm not doing it right then they are going to let me know the same way I let them know’, he said. ‘That's the challenge I like. It's a winning feeling. The lads were hammering me in there (the dressing room) because in the 87th or 88th minute I did this big sprint back and they were asking where that came from. I don't know, I genuinely don't know but I've got that enthusiasm and hunger to not only win games, but keep the energy (high) and show the other boys that, even at 31, I can still contribute and be more than a bit-part player’.

The captain recovered over the course of three months after picking up a knee injury back in August 2019. He was able to return and set the pace along with Pearson. The Hornets continue to battle back and are making the best of their inspiring comeback this season.

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Words: Paul Daniel Flores

Image: PA