Troy Matthew Deeney. Is Watford FC’s Number 9 and goalscoring skipper, but he isn’t your ordinary run of the mill Premier League forward. Troy Deeney From Prison To The Premier League
Born in Birmingham, Deeney was expelled from school at the age of 14. Despite returning at a later date, he left education without a GCSE to his name, heading into a career as a bricklayer, but ultimately he was destined for a career as a footballer. However, even this path wasn’t straight forward.
Reports have indicated that Deeney refused to attend a trial at Aston Villa despite them dangling a youth contract at him. He ended up at non league Chelmsley Town where he was spotted by Walsall scouts. He was offered a trial by the then League Two club, but only attended after his Chelmsley manager got him out of bed and paid for his taxi!!
It was Chris Hutchings that helped to shape this bustling striker. After taking over at Walsall he moved Deeney from playing right-wing to through the middle. He was rewarded by seeing the player finish as the season’s top scorer and being awarded Player Of The Year.
His potential was being realised and after being scouted by numerous higher level clubs. He was transfer to his current club Watford at the start of the 2010 – 11 season. So it was all looking well for the frontman…wasn’t it? Not so much in the summer of 2012.
The Hornets’ top scorer admitted a charge of affray on May 11 following a violent brawl in his home town of Birmingham, that left four students injured. The then 23-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 10 months in prison. Good behaviour and an apparent show of remorse saw a release date set just short of 3 months and it appears that this was the final kick up the behind that Deeney required. In an attempt to right some of his viewed wrongs, Deeney set about gaining GCSEs in English, Science and Maths.
Taking into account his acquired Maths skills, it is worth noting that his initial stop start career currently sees him having scored over 100 goals during his stay at Vicarage Road, with a strike rate of a goal in every 2.8 matches. With the net being hit between both Championship and PL seasons it shows he is capable at stepping up when required.
There is a separate argument to be had that could suggest an England call up should have been received ahead of some others, as he provides a different option up top. Troy has twice rejected invitations to play for Jamaica in the hope of a phone call from the FA.
Deeney recently signed a 5 year contract with the intention of finishing a career at a club that has stood by him and made him a focal point in their history due to his performances and leadership.
The Watford stalwart has recently hit the headlines again after claiming that Arsenal lacked “Cojones” after Tom Cleverley’s late winner last month. Before accepting a violent conduct charge from the FA for an altercation with Welsh Pirlo, Joe Allen. He appeared to shape for a cross rather than give the ball back to Stoke after they had kicked the ball out of play and despite the reaction of the Stoke midfielder, Deeney defended his non sporting actions.
It’s fair to say he is a footballer who believes in himself and despite his misdemeanours, Deeney is a normal guy living out his dreams, he’s down to earth and knows his place within the game as the below quotes show:-
“Everyone thinks, now, that to be a professional footballer you’ve got to look like Ronaldo, have feet like Messi and great hair like Neymar. Come on. Kevin Davies had a great career – Nearly all of it in the Premier League, Played for England. Why can’t you be the next Kevin Davies?”
“If you look at my photos, there’s been a big change,” he says. “I used to have a proper fat face, like a chubba-chubb. I’m not saying I’m sculpted now. Still a way to go. But at least I’ve got a chin.
Troy Deeney never change, modern football needs characters just like you!
Andy Robertson – From Amateur to Anfield
Another 3 points gained under the Anfield lights on Saturday evening and another outstanding performance from one of Liverpool’s star men. Nope we’re not talking about Salah, Mane Mane or Bobby Firmino because it’s all about Robbo, Andy Robertson.
The left back who has made the position his own and is quite rightly receiving the plaudits he deserves.
Just 5 years ago Andy Robertson was playing for Scottish 3rd Division side Queens Park, a club in which he signed for after having been released by Celtic for being too small earlier in his career.
His move to Dundee United saw him instantly catch the eye of many north of the border. A renewed contract was agreed within just weeks of his debut and was followed with being PFA’s “Scotland Young Player of the Year” and a subsequent place in the PFA “Scotland Team of the Year” for the 2013-14 Scottish Premiership season.
All of this convinced Hull City to swoop with a near £3m bid to get their man, United accepted and the left back was on his way to the EPL.
3 seasons with Hull under the stewardship of former Man Utd stalwart Steve Bruce allowed him to gain what is deemed acceptable experience in England and it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature.
An absolute bargain at a reported £8m and his dream debut season is showing no signs of slowing down.
He has even earned the approval of Kop legend Stevie G. He told BT Sport: “He’s done terrifically well since coming in and the fans have taken to him. It’s not just about Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, the top players that come, the fans love someone who gives 100 per cent.”
“He’s come in and he’s a very humble kid and gives it his all every game. To be fair to the kid. He’s been excellent.”
His lung bursting closing down run vs Man City made him a social media sensation but for those who have watched him for the past few years this was nothing out of the ordinary.
International recognition has obviously come his way and with 20 caps already under his belt, his partnership with Kieran Tierney gives The Tartan Army a strong looking left side for years to come.
He’s has never given up and has taken every chance that has come his way.
One of the signings of the 2017/18 season has undoubtedly been Liverpool’s Number 26.
Nick Pope – From League Two to Russia as Englands most in form keeper?
Some pretty daft things are said in the wake of a team winning promotion. Players who, in the depths of winter, you were berating for not being able to pass a ball two yards are suddenly going to be providing the names of your first born. You claim that you believed in the team all along, when in reality, after a home defeat by Dagenham & Redbridge, you had sworn never to go again. Most stupidly of all however, you claim that your young loanee goalkeeper will go to the next World Cup. Or at least that’s what I did after Bury’s promotion on the last day of the 2014/15 season. While little Thomas Daniel has yet to show his face, the latter statement may actually come true as Gareth Southgate takes a look at Burnley’s Nick Pope in his latest England squad.
Nick joined Bury in January 2015, on loan from Charlton Athletic. Our promotion campaign wasn’t running particularly smoothly. The day before Pope’s debut we sat 9th in League Two, two points outside the play off places and nine points off the automatic promotion places. We’d lost nine games, shipped as many goals as Tranmere, who went on to be relegated and the aforementioned Dagenham & Redbridge had managed to do the double over us as they fought at the wrong end of the table. Three goalkeepers had already worn the ‘keeper’s jersey before Pope. Shwan Jalal, Rob Lainton and Scott Loach had tried and failed to provide the solid goalkeeper David Flitcroft was looking for.
Pope’s debut was a pretty forgettable home draw against Wycombe Wanderers. He conceded a goal, which was to be rarity during Nick’s time with Bury. In the following 21 games, Pope conceded only nine goals, won fifteen games and lost only four. Pope exuded a calmness rarely sighted in the fourth tier of English football, instilling a new confidence in a defence which had underperformed for most the season. Come the final day of the season, Bury needed to win to be promoted. Away at Tranmere, who had already been relegated, the nerves showed. Pope was called upon to make crucial saves to keep the scores level. In the 61st minute however, Tom Soares wrote himself into Bury folklore and at the end of game, Bury found themselves in League One.
The following season, Pope was back with parent club Charlton. He began and ended the season as Charlton’s first choice goalkeeper, not playing all the games as Charlton preferred Stephen Henderson through the middle part of the season. This season was to be one of disappointment however, as Charlton were relegated to League One. Rather than drop down to League One with Charlton, Pope’s career took a different path. The winners of the Championship, Burnley, decided to take Nick onto the Premier League, signing him on a three year deal in July 2016. Pope played only cup matches in his first season with the Clarets. Even when Tom Heaton missed Premier League matches, 37 year old former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson was the preferred option.
With Robinson retiring in July of 2017 and a further injury to Tom Heaton opening the door, the 2017/18 season has seen Pope grasp his opportunity with both hands. To date Pope has kept ten clean sheets in twenty seven Premier League appearances, working behind a defence containing fellow England hopefuls James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.
Could Pope go from League Two to a World Cup in three years? Despite being arguably England’s most in-form goalkeeper heading into the tournament the chances are probably slim. Without any injuries, Gareth Southgate will take Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. Despite being woefully out of form, going into a tournament without Joe Hart would be seen as a mistake by most, given his experience, even if he is just there to lend a helping hand to the number one. Butland doesn’t seem to be losing any favour from being embroiled in Stoke’s relegation battle while Pickford could claim to be Everton’s best player of this season. However one mistake, a loss of form or injury could see Pope take the place of any of these three.
Back at Bury, nearly three years have passed since that rainy day promotion at Tranmere and we have never properly replaced Nick Pope. Since that day twelve (!) different goalkeepers have been used, seven during the 2015/16 season alone. As we head towards relegation back to League Two, the summer would be that little bit more bearable knowing that an ex – Shaker was on the biggest stage of them all. All the best Nick, lad. UTS.
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