While Odion Ighalo may be taking all the plaudits for his high scoring start to life in the Premier League, his strike partner, Troy Deeney, surely can’t be far away from a first England call-up. The duo have scored a staggering 20 of Watford’s 25 goals this season and Deeney has been crucial to Watford’s, and Igahlo’s, success so far.
Deeney is the latest of the English strikers that have risen through the lower leagues to succeed in the top flight, following in the footsteps of Jamie Vardy, Charlie Austin, Danny Ings and co. The 27-year-old has been at Vicarage Road since 2010, following a move from Walsall, and he has been making quite an impression since his arrival.
Deeney bided his time with Watford in the Championship after impressing for his first few seasons in North-West London. He shrugged off interest from Premier League clubs, and gritted his teeth when his side were left heartbroken by Crystal Palace in the play-off final in 2013. His patience was rewarded, however, when Watford won automatic promotion last season, and as with any player moving up to the Premier League, people certainly had their doubts on the striker.
It took him nine games into the season to net for the first time, as he struck Watford in front at the Britannia against Stoke, and a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. Anyone who wasn’t watching him week in, week out would maybe have doubted his influence on the Premier League, and his ability to make the step up. Much to the contrary, however. Deeney was helping his teammate Ighalo with his five goals in the opening nine games, and he was using this immense strength to his advantage, just like it was the Championship.
Deeney has now notched seven in the season, albeit four from the penalty spot. However, his game is not all about goals. In fact, the praise that Deeney has been getting has not been to do with his goals at all. Watford’s talismanic captain has been attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal because of his overall influence on the team and the impact he can have.
Only Rudy Gestede has won more aerial duels in the Premier League this season, and Deeney has created the most chances out of his Watford teammates, with five assists to his name. Surely Roy Hodgson will have to look at Troy Deeney in the coming months as he prepares his squad for the European Championships at the end of this season.
You would think that Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane have already booked their place to France. With Daniel Sturridge’s continuing injury problems, it’s doubtful whether the Liverpool man will be on the plane in June. That means that there is one, maybe two, spots on the plane for any potential forwards to be added, and Deeney surely has to be considered.
Deeney has more assists this season than the three forwards who are probably already on their way, and has created more chances than any of them have. He has won more aerial duels than them and also has a higher percentage of aerial duels won. He has more goals than Wayne Rooney but Kane and Vardy are both ahead of him in the goalscoring department.
The 27 year old would probably be on option off the bench for Hodgson should he be included, and he would certainly be a good option to play alongside Kane or Vardy. His hold up play is superb and he brings others into play expertly. For a very stocky 6 foot striker, he has a superb touch and often plays delicious touches into teammates, which is why he has been working with Ighalo so well in the league.
If he carries on the way he is going, there is no reason why he can’t stake a claim for a spot in the England squad. With plenty of injuries sustained to English forwards, he should certainly be considered for upcoming friendlies with the national team to see how he does. Charlie Austin will want to make a push with his move to Southampton, and if Sturridge recovers from injury he will prove very tough competition for Deeney.
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