Walter Mazzarri says Troy Deeney has been working hard on his fitness during the international break.
The captain, we are told, reported back for pre-season a stone overweight and he has certainly looked laboured in the four games this season. Whether this weight increase is down to additional muscle he has gained following work with personal trainer Jamie Reynolds or the excesses of two trips to America in the summer is unclear but Deeney has looked off the pace so far.
He won more aerial duels than any other player in the league last season but, struggling to get off the ground, he was completely out-gunned in the air by Laurent Koscielny last time out.
“The ten or 11 players who stayed behind have done a good job,” said Mazzarri this morning. “The same goes with Deeney. He has improved physically in the last week.”
Deeney needs to improve his mobility and fitness levels as Isaac Success is pushing him hard for his place, while Mazzarri also has the option of playing Roberto Pereyra just off Odion Ighalo as the main striker. Ighalo has not been entirely at the races and there is a fear he had his head turned by two offers from China and a bid from Manchester United in January. There were even calls in Nigeria for him to be dropped from the national team following the 1-0 win over a Tanzania side that Algeria put seven past.
“The club decides on the transfer market,” said Mazzarri. “I am not the one to decide if players stays or not. I decide on the team. I am very happy that Ighalo stayed with us. We are all happy that Ighalo decide here. He is an extremely important player for the team.”