“I need people to know what happened.”

That was the subtext to a frank, revealing and insightful interview with former Watford defender William Troost-Ekong, which will appear on The Watford Observer website over the next three days.

Fresh from playing in the final of the African Cup of Nations, where he was voted player of the tournament, Troost-Ekong spoke to me at length on the phone from Finland, where he was recovering from surgery that will probably end his season.

Ever since he left the club last summer, the 30-year-old has said he wanted to give this interview as he thought it was important to explain some of the things that happened during his time at Vicarage Road, and particularly in the period just before he left the club to sign for PAOK.

A self-confessed Hornets fan who attended matches at Vicarage Road with his father-in-law from Rickmansworth long before he played for Watford, Troost-Ekong was a popular figure with supporters and ensured his place in club history with a goal and some magnificent antics in the 4-0 win over Luton in October 2022.

However, things turned a little sour when he was loaned out midway through that season, and Troost-Ekong didn’t play for Watford again.

In his interview, he talks about:

  • His experiences at the recent AFCON tournament
  • His previously unseen penalty-taking ability
  • How he came to live in England
  • The injury that has almost certainly ended his season
  • Watching his Nigeria teammate Odion Ighalo score from the stands at Vicarage Road
  • His family not believing he had signed for Watford
  • His goal and his reaction to the red card during that win over Luton
  • The warning he’d be sold if he insisted on playing at the African Cup of Nations
  • Being “frozen out” and playing just 12 minutes in 18 games when he returned
  • How he was asked to accept a transfer to Russia during the World Cup break
  • Bilic only learning he’d been loaned to Salernitana from Sky Sports News
  • Having to train with the Under-21s
  • His plans to live, and possibly work, in Hertfordshire again

The first of the three-part interview will be online around this time tomorrow, with parts two and three at the same sort of time on Wednesday and Thursday.

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