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Troy Deeney 'like a big kid again' after return to action with Watford
Troy Deeney's prison sentence has been an “eye opener” for the striker but last season’s top goal scorer is “like a big kid again” following his return to the club.
Deeney was released from prison three weeks ago after serving two-and-a-half months of a ten-month sentence for affray, following a fight outside a Birmingham nightclub in February.
Watford’s new regime decided they wanted to retain the services of the striker several months ago, even though it was only confirmed publicly once the player was set free.
Hornets defender Nyron Nosworthy believes the club’s continued support provided Deeney with the motivation needed to return in great shape.
The centre-half said: “I think everything that has happened to the lad since the summer has been an eye opener for him, in terms of how lucky we are to be footballers.
"He has been able to knuckle down because he knew that the club were still here for him and that has helped him massively.
“He’s just knuckled down and kept himself in the best condition he could and he said he’s just happy to be playing football, he’s like a big kid and you can see that he’s enjoying it. He’s just looking to work hard and get his name back up in lights.”
Deeney is one of the big personalities in Watford’s dressing room and is a player who has always made time to interact with supporters.
His return boosted morale within the Hornets’ squad and a number of his team-mates used micro-blogging site Twitter to express their delight when he reappeared at their London Colney base a few weeks ago.
“It’s good for us and I’m happy for him,” Nosworthy said.
“I think it has been an eye opener for him and it was a mistake. As a footballer we have reputations to uphold and we are seen in a different light, so you can’t go out and lose your head because it’s more costly for you than a normal person.
“Troy had to learn that the hard way but he’s now got a second chance, he’s been blessed. He’s here now and he understands that it’s not a case of taking all the fire out of him, he needs that on the pitch.
"But he knows what he did was wrong and he has served the consequences. He’s just happy to be here and have another bite of the apple.”
Nosworthy stated he not only classes Deeney as a team-mate but also a good friend and confirmed that some of the senior players did offer the former Walsall man words of advice following his release.
“Obviously he’s young and fiery which can sometimes get you into trouble,” Nosworthy said. “As an older pro, I talk to him and we’re good friends.
“He has a good temperament, he likes to work hard and enjoys training, so I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s back starting again, scoring goals and doing what he’s meant to be doing, which is enjoying football playing for Watford.”
Deeney was warmly welcomed by the majority of supporters when he came on as a 55th-minute substitute at the weekend, although there were some boos.
The 24-year-old provided the Hornets with a much greater attacking threat and after almost scoring with his first touch, played a big part in his side’s opener.
Nosworthy said: “Everyone knows what Troy’s about; he’s a powerful young lad, he’s got a finish on him and even though he’s been away for a while, he showed that he hasn’t lost his touch.
“I’m happy for him to be back amongst it and obviously he’s a benefit to the squad and helps makes us stronger.”
Gianfranco Zola has publicly backed Deeney and believes he deserves a second chance after “paying for his mistake”.
Zola was surprised by the player’s level of fitness and was pleased with his impact during Saturday’s draw against Bristol City.
“In the second half we increased the tempo and when Troy came on he made a big impact. The situation got better and better,” Zola said.
“I am glad Deeney is back. He is an important player and he is just the right player for this team.
“He showed very good attributes and he will get better and better. We are very happy to have him and we will improve a lot.”