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Watford boss Gianfranco Zola insists former Walsall striker Troy Deeney deserves a second chance
Gianfranco Zola believes Troy Deeney has paid for the mistake which resulted in him going to prison and has questioned why the striker shouldn’t be given a second chance by Watford.
Deeney was released from prison last week after serving two-and-a-half months of a ten-month sentence for affray, following a brawl outside a Birmingham nightclub in February.
The 24-year-old returned to training with the Hornets on Wednesday of last week and seven days later played in his first match since his release, as a Hornets XI lost 3-1 to Queens Park Rangers Under-21s in a behind-close-doors friendly.
Deeney played the first 45 minutes and Zola said that, while the striker is understandably not 100 per cent fit, his conditioning is impressive and the “signs were encouraging”.
Some clubs might have sacked their player if he was sent to prison, but Zola said: “We are all human beings, we all make mistakes and I believe he has paid for the mistake he made.
“He has apologised to the individual, to the club and the supporters so why shouldn’t people have another opportunity?
“Nobody in this world is clear completely and I see no problem in somebody coming back and having a second chance to show what they can do after they have paid for what they’ve done.”
Deeney returned to full training this week after taking part in a few group sessions last week.
Speaking on Monday, Zola said: “He has been training and his condition is better than we thought. He has already joined in with a few sessions and I believe he might train completely with the team in the week.”
“I am very pleased he is back,” Zola added. “He was an excellent player last year and I am sure he can be excellent next year as well.
“I am pleased he is back and he is also in very good physical condition.”
Watford confirmed they would definitely be retaining Deeney on Friday, as we reported in last week’s Watford Observer.
The club’s statement read: “Watford FC is to retain the registration of Troy Deeney.
“The Hornets welcomed the striker’s recent independent apology – however it was genuine remorse shown in a face-to-face environment, coupled with a serious commitment to rehabilitation on all levels, which was just as key to his retention.
“This decision has been taken after extensive discussions between senior club officials, Deeney himself and his representatives.
“The club believes it can play a key role in facilitating Deeney’s rehabilitation into a professional working environment, and will be closely monitoring all aspects of the forward’s activities connected with Watford FC .”