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Troy Deeney's redemption

From jail to the FA Cup final: the Watford striker star of a historic day for Hornets

Troy Deeney's redemption From jail to the FA Cup final: the Watford striker star of a historic day for Hornets

That the FA Cup is always able to offer exciting stories is certainly not a novelty of the last weekend, when the semifinals of the oldest competition in the world were staged at Wembley: the first match between Manchester City and Brighton, which has seeing Guardiola's boys smile, as widely expected on the eve, there was instead a lot of indecision regarding the other challenge for the final, the one between Wolves and Watford. The Orange were two goals ahead thanks to Doherty and Jimenez, before the entry of Deulofeu that has upset the destiny of the game: 2-2 resumed in the last minutes, and then the winning goal that completed the comeback, in the extra time. If the Catalan former Barça and AC Milan was definitely the MVP of the match, Troy Deeney's post-match interview excited us the most.

Those who follow the Premier League already know that, the Watford captain over the years today became one of the toughest strikers in the league: having arrived in Hertfordshire at just 22 years of age, back in 2010, Deeney had to overcome an obstacle course harder than expected before to become the symbol player of the Hornets. Among the natural ups and downs of every forward, the 10 months spent in jail in 2012 (for having attacked students during a brawl) have definitely changed him, as the people's opinions about him. This is why the penalty scored with anger at the 94th minute against the Wolves, his liberating celebration and the tears held back with difficulty at the end of the match, never like this time have had the taste of the definitive redemption.


Deeney also explained it publicly: twelve years ago he used to pay 10 pounds a week to play football, to become a professional player like his brother, who then never became a pro. Today, on the other hand, he has rewritten the history of the black&yellow right under the eyes of Elton John, present at Wembley as well as 35 years ago, when Watford reached its first and prestigious cup final. Deeney managed to remove from the spotlight even the most famous Raul Jimenez, former Atletico Madrid and Benfica striker who after the 2-0 goal celebrated putting with a colorful mask, placed right behind the goal.

'I hadn't noticed Raul's celebration. I'm glad he put on his mask, because now he's the loser. Personally, I consider him a phenomenal player, but some celebrations are better done when you are sure of the result.'


Perhaps now someone will stop remembering the 30-year-old from Birmingham only for his extra-football mishaps. For his red card after a shocking foul against Huddersfield which cost him a four-game-ban. Or for his goal against Leicester in the second leg of the 2013 playoff semifinal, following that so daring end that it is impossible not to remember it, even if it was then useless to reach the promotion. The Premier League only arrived two seasons later, during which the English striker scored the beauty of 45 goals. Manager after manager (Deeney has had as many as ten), the Watford captain has built his reputation in the top flight match after game, regardless of the attacking partners who have never diminished his value, nor have they managed to get him out of the starting lineup. Now he has 37 goal in the Premier League, some of them prestigious (against Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea) and other controversies, like the one scored against Arsenal in October 2017, following which he accused the Gunners of not having the cojones. Harsh yes, but right.

The current one, however, is a particular season, perhaps unrepeatable: the team coached by Javi Gracia at the beginning of the season was indicated as one of the weakest teams, and instead at six matches from the end is in full fight for a Europa League spot. After the league, on May 18th for Watford it will be the moment to play the final against Manchester City, the team that Deeney met 8 times, always losing. A fairy tale that lacks only the happy ending, the dream that links the English striker and the small suburban team to the north of London.