Troy Deeney will take ‘an injection’ in order to ensure he’s fit to face Arsenal this weekend in a desperate bid to show he has ‘cajones’ of his own.
The player, nor the Evening Standard who reported his comments, clarify what sort of injection he will take but we can assume he means a pain-killing one.
Deeney said: “I have to have another injection, this time in the ankle, for the weekend so I’ll be ready for Arsenal. There’s a bit of ligament damage in there [but] nothing a few injections can’t help. It’s going to take more than that to stop me playing against Arsenal.”
He also told the BBC that he has been playing with broken toes since August 26 when Watford beat Palace 2-1: “One toe has healed but two are broken. I’ve had injections. One of the younger players did it on the Friday before the game. He was trying to impress and get himself in the team. It wasn’t much, but he stood on my toes.”
Deeney will be keen to play because of his history with Arsenal and the fact he thinks he’s better than he actually is. Speaking before he helped his side draw 1-1 at Fulham in a game they should have won, Deeney told Sky Sports, “I respect his [Southgate’s] decision [not to select me for England], perhaps because I did not count on it. I think you should earn something like that, so four matches is not enough to be invited to the English team.
“I thought it was interesting that he said that I was good enough for Watford and not for the English team.
“That means that someone who plays at a smaller club and does not have a certain style is not eligible for the national team. With all due respect for Danny Welbeck, he does not play and is selected. Is it still about which club you play with?
“On my thirtieth birthday, I looked in the mirror and was startled a bit. It was the first time I looked at my body and was not happy with it.
“For this season I was written off and people called me fat, so I thought: I’m going to show you. I just have to be mentally stimulated. If that is the case, I can do everything.”
Stats don’t often tell you all you need to know but if we’re talking goalscorers then goals on the board is, ultimately, the only metric that matters. Given Deeney’s comments, it should follow then that he has been outperforming Arsenal’s chaotic frontman on a regular basis.
Deeney has two goals and one assist in six matches this season. He has played a total of 539 minutes. Danny Welbeck has two goals in four games despite having played only 121 minutes.
Last season Welbeck scored 10 and assisted one. Deeney scored six and assisted three. The season before that, Welbeck scored five and assisted four in just 1,094 minutes. Deeney scored 10 and assisted five in three times the number of minutes.
Over the course of their careers, Welbeck has scored or assisted a goal every 170 minutes while playing for a top-six club in Arsenal or Manchester United.
Deeney, who has actually played 36k minutes to Welbeck’s 18k, has an almost identical rate but his games have usually been played at a much lower level in the Championship, never mind Europe (141 goals, 62 assists, direct goal involvement once every 169 minutes v 67 goals, 39 assists with a direct goal involvement for Welbeck of 170 minutes).
Not only has Welbeck experience at the top level that Deeney does not, the Arsenal man has 16 England goals and four assists. In fact, Welbeck scores or assists at a far better rate for country than he does club (116 minutes).
I’m not saying Welbeck is a great striker, he’s not and probably shouldn’t be selected given that he’s not playing regularly. But I certainly wouldn’t turn to Deeney as a solution, regardless of what he thinks of himself.
A Watford player since 2012, apart from a gap listed on his CV as a ‘career break’ that was actually a spell in prison for kicking a man in the head during a pub brawl, Deeney has not been selected by England at any level.
Perhaps what is more telling is that he has not represented Jamaica either, a country he could have featured for. Was he holding out for an England shout? It seems he was, revealing in an interview that he rejected Jamaica’s calls twice in the hopes of a Three Lions shout.
Surely it was clear to him long ago that that wasn’t going to come and with Jamaica he could have experienced international football.