Troy Deeney: 'It got too exhausting being the tough guy'

Troy Deeney would like you to know that he is a “nice guy”, despite his reputation as one of the most intimidating players in English football. Recently, the Watford striker earned a red card for apparently elbowing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira in the face, accused Arsenal of lacking the “cojones” to beat his team and said that he would “kick the shit out of” Everton before a match against them. Yet despite all this, he is charming and polite over the course of the afternoon we spend together in central London, during which he mentions his likability no fewer than four times: “I’m really a nice guy, aren’t I? Not many people know that.”

Inside the six feet of solid, tattooed muscle, behind the weathered face and toothy grin, is a need to be seen and heard, and not just for the outlandish statements and pitchside antics. Deeney may be captain of Watford, a team he led to promotion to the Premier League in 2015 and now the FA Cup final this week, but at 30 he is middle-aged for a footballer. As he moves towards the twilight of his career, he is worrying about how he will be remembered.

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 13/05/19]