Whatever Troy Deeney goes onto achieve in his career – and there are plenty of years and life left in the old dog – his career-defining moment will always be that goal against Leicester City.
It says a lot about Deeney’s inner drive that after scaling the mountain with that memorable, logic-defying strike, which was high on technique and emotion, in front of a disbelieving Rookery Stand he did not spend too long admiring the view. Many would have just dined out on that for years. He’s gone onto to score 55 more goals and counting for Watford and captained them to promotion to the Premier League. He feels the timing of promotion was perfect.
“I think both teams [Watford and Leicester] weren’t ready three years ago, if you look at where both teams are now,” he said in an interview with Johnny Phillips for Gillette Soccer Saturday. “If either of the teams went up at that point I don’t think we would have given ourselves a fighting chance in the Premier League. It didn’t look like it at the time, but I think it worked out best for both clubs.”
Leicester, to their immense credit, recovered from the blow of seeing Manuel Almunia save that Anthony Knockaert penalty to win the Championship the following season. It took Watford longer to bounce back from the play-off final defeat to Crystal Palace, two seasons in fact. The Hornets and the Foxes are now established in the Premier League, with Leicester building on an astonishing act of escapology to mount the most unlikely title challenge in the history of the Premier League.
“You have to look at Leicester as an inspiration, the team hasn’t changed massively,” Deeney said. “Obviously Robert Huth and Kante have been getting a lot of headlines, but generally it is the team that went up. Vardy, Drinkwater and Mahrez were all in the Championship side and they are doing brilliantly.”