Jay DeMerit has labelled Troy Deeney as the greatest ever Watford player and rues the fact that the pair never got the chance to play together. The 40-year old believes that Watford’s current talisman is his equal in terms of unwavering will and self belief. He believes it was his confidence in his own ability, coupled with sheer determination to prove everybody who had written him off earlier in his career wrong, that helped make “the impossible come true”.
Troy Deeney said “Troy is now a friend of mine for many years but I never got to play with him as he came after I left. He is someone I would have liked to play with because we had a similar mindset about being guys who wear their hearts on the sleeves. Is Troy the greatest player in the club’s history? I believe so, yeah. There was once way back in the day (John) Barnes and people like that who were probably as big as names as him. But as far as service to the club, as far you know, the big goals that he scored over many years that he’s played through all different levels, I would definitely take him into consideration and he’ll be right at the very top. Quite honestly, (it was) nothing more than belief in myself and what I believed I was capable of. When you do things that no one else thinks you can do but only you think you can do. Before I made it as a pro, I had nine jobs from being a bartender, to a painter and youth camp director. When I was 23 I went to university in Chicago, I had opportunities to be a designer and do a real job but there was something in me that made me think that just because I come from a small town and didn’t come through an academy programme, I wouldn’t be paid to play professional. I had to believe in myself that I could put myself in those environments even though I am late to the game. I still believed that, even though I lacked experience, I was good enough to be in those environments, so I had to put myself there by myself. I just felt this burning desire that I could still do more with my soccer even though I was already 23 and I was late. Even though I had limited experience I still believed in my own story and the fact that I could do it. I was brave enough to ask questions and ask coaches what I needed to work on, and you know, put myself into as many teams as possible from Sunday leagues to Saturday leagues, where I was making £40 a game. You have to put yourself in the arena. That required hard work and effort and the last thing was just opportunity. I had an opportunity to go and live in England with a friend of mine who I had met in Chicago-I had an opportunity to go and live in Europe and have a roof over my head, so I could try, that’s why I did it. I do, I think so that they can stay up. Again, the trick is in your players and I believe Watford will stay up because they have good players and a good team that have played together for long enough and that have been in this league for a while. The players they have know how to survive in the league because they have quite a few players who have been in those situations before and all of those factors. They have been on a really good run, Nigel (Pearson) has done a fantastic job, re-energising the mindsets of the players. So yeah, Watford have good enough players to stay up.”
DeMeritt reflected on his miraculous rise from being a bartender in Chicago and playing Sunday League football to holding his own in the Premier League with Watford and representing his country at a World Cup finals. DeMerit parted company with Watford after agreeing to join Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps at the end of the 2009-2010 Championship campaign while Deeney joined the Hornets two months later in August of the same year. Deeney has undoubtedly been a driving force behind Watford’s recent resurgence and DeMeritt is anything but concerned about the Hornets’ precarious league position as he feels his former side have enough talent to defy the odds and stay in the Premier League.