Great Britain

Troy Deeney: If Big Sam had stayed in charge of England, I would have been called up

YOU KNOW what? I think I should have got an England cap.

I certainly should have had a friendly, especially during my first year in the Prem, when I got 13 goals and ten assists.

That summer, Leicester, the reigning champions, made several bids to sign me.

I was flattered by that and tempted by it. I spoke to the Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri about it and looked at it as a win–win situation.

I was the main man at Watford and was being mentioned in the England conversation but if I had gone to Leicester, I think I would have had an England call-up by now.

I would have played Champions League there and my profile would have gone up.

Jamie Vardy was weighing up a move to Arsenal at the same time Leicester were offering Watford £25million for me but he ended up staying.

I would have played with Vardy in a two up front and I think our natural games would have complemented each other well.


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I knew I had to be realistic and understand that if the move did happen, I would never be able to be part of something that surpassed what Leicester had just achieved.

I was never going to become a Leicester legend in the same way I had become part of Watford’s history.

I don’t really look back on it with regrets.

I wonder what might have been if that route had been taken but the path that I stayed on has been great, in terms of what I have meant to Watford and what Watford means to me.

There is always someone you can make a viable argument for that deserves an England friendly.

One of the most obvious ones is Mark Noble.

He deserved a lot more than an England friendly. He should have had England caps in double figures.

Maybe I was held back a little bit by the perception that Watford is a small club.

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If Sam Allardyce had stayed in charge of England for a bit longer, I would have got a cap. I’m pretty sure of that.

It was the autumn of 2016 and he had spoken to Watford about me and there was talk of me being in the next squad for World Cup qualifiers against Malta at Wembley and Slovenia away. But a couple of days after I had been told about that, he was the subject of that newspaper sting and he got fired. That was the end of that.

If anybody was going to put me in, it would have been him. I never got another sniff.

Big Sam came in for a while to manage West Brom at The Hawthorns.

If ever there was a manager–player combination that was designed to work, it was me and him but I’d come to the conclusion by then that it wasn’t for me.

I would probably have been among the one-cap wonders, like my old mate Michael Ricketts but I don’t harbour any regrets about it really.

I would have loved to play for my country but when I watch England and, say, Callum Wilson is playing, I never think, ‘That should have been me’.

Ricky Lambert had done well enough for Southampton to earn a place in England’s 2014 World Cup squad. I thought maybe that chance might come for me.

If you build my football life story as a cake, it has got three or four layers, it has got icing on it, it just hasn’t got that little cherry on the top.

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Troy Deeney posts emotional message to Watford fans after 11-year stay ends

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