Troy Deeney is one of the more interesting characters in the Premier League. The Watford captain, who scored the opening goal in his side's 2-1 win over Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City, has become a folk hero during his nine years at the club, having helped the Hornets rise from the Championship into the top half of the Premier League.
Deeney has shown a refreshing honesty when speaking with the media in recent years, something that can't always be said for Premier League footballers, and he is never shy to give a frank opinion on himself, his team and the opposition. His comments about Arsenal "lacking cojones" last season being just one example.
One of the more interesting aspects of Deeney's character is his troubled background, which involved a three-month stint in prison after his part in a street brawl in 2012. In the years since, Deeney has taken steps to reform his character and set up the Troy Deeney Foundation that supports disadvantaged children suffering from learning disabilities and life-limiting illnesses.
— T Deeney Foundation (@TheTDFoundation) December 22, 2017
In an interview with BBC 5 Live, Deeney gave a typically frank depiction of his troubled up-bringing in Birmingham, where footballers and drug-dealers were seen as the most obvious role models for children in his local community. His father had spent time in prison while Deeney was growing up, and he believes that the lack of suitable role models could have led him toward a different path had football not given him an escape.
I'm not going to lie, it was at one stage because where I grew up, we only looked up to the footballers or the drug dealers. That's all we knew....You look up to what you can see, and what I could see was that.
The drug dealers had the nice cars, they had the nice trainers, they had the clothes, and the footballers that were from my area did all of that and moved out of my area. It's not a case that I looked up to the drug dealer and thought "I aspire to be that" - I've never touched drugs in my life, so its not been a case of looking up to it.
I'm just saying from a perspective of a youngster looking up, that's what I wanted to do. I always had this impression that money bought you happiness and money solved everything, and its the biggest lie I've ever been told.
Deeney has re-built his life off the pitch in recent years and his confrontational style on the pitch has been effective in helping Watford establish themselves as a top-half Premier League side this season. He is unafraid to speak his mind which bodes well for any potential career in punditry when his playing days come to an end.