It’s rare that I actually agree with a whole panel of football pundits yet here we are.
On Saturday, the BT Sport Score panel, which included Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Savage, Mark Clattenburg and John Hartson, decided to tear into Troy Deeney after Watford lost 1-0 to Stoke for his comments regarding Arsenal’s lack of ‘cajones’.
“I was sitting next to [Deeney] during that interview at Watford-Arsenal and I thought it was good that a professional had come out and said it like it is,” said Savage. “But looking at it now, you don’t see (Ryan) Shawcross coming out and saying ‘you know what, it was easy playing against Troy Deeney’.
“I think there’s a line where the truth sometimes… was he right to say that?”
Jenas added, “From a fellow professional’s point of view, if I was still playing, I’d be looking at him and wondering ‘why are you doing that?’.
“It’s like Per Mertesacker going and doing an interview and going ‘when I won the World Cup…’ or ‘when I won this’ or ‘when I won that’… you know, you just don’t do it! You have a kind of understanding – a respect, I would say, for your fellow professionals.”
As Savage said, there’s a certain line that Deeney crossed when he claimed that Arsenal didn’t have the ‘cajones’ to go up against physical players. Briefly explaining your team’s game plan is one thing, slating your opposition to that degree, however, seems unprofessional.
It should be noted that when the Watford striker actually made the comments, he was on the BBC and pundits were applauding him for his honesty. It’s only with hindsight that they’ve claimed they find his behaviour unprofessional [and after Deeny tried to rip the face off an opponent – edit].
Even then, Hartson didn’t entirely agree with the rest of the panel, chiming in, “Other people will praise him for it though and say ‘you know what, he’s brutally honest’. Don’t we want people to be honest?”
Deeney’s comments made headlines for a week and are still sparking discussion, so I guess the panel are right when they say they at least made good TV.
Regardless, some sort of football karma has been served as the Hornets have lost both of their Premier League matches since beating Arsenal at Vicarage Road. Marco Silva’s side is now down in eighth after previously being in sixth.
Meanwhile, the Gunners have beaten Everton and Swansea, coming from behind on both occasions after locating their cajones.