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Troy Deeney on Vincent Kompany: The last 'proper centre half' since Rio Ferdinand

The i logo The i 17/05/2019 i Team
a group of young men playing a game of football © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd By Jon West -- Vincent Kompany has already lifted 11 major trophies going into the FA Cup final; a group of young men playing a game of football © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Troy Deeney, the opposing captain at Wembley, can’t remember the last time he had a winners’ medal to show his mum.That is something the Watford striker would very much like to do for the woman who brought him up in challenging circumstances and whom he describes as “my angel”.The 30-year-old racks his memory to recall a medal in his career that wasn’t for individual endeavour. “It would have been a school, county game or something,” he says eventually.

'She doesn't give a s**t about football'

Troy Deeney with a football ball © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Deeney will have to keep his cool on Saturday after a rash recent red card picked up against Arsenal (Getty Images)

a group of people watching a football ball © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd His mother, Emma, is unlikely to remember either. She is not remotely interested in football but will be at the national stadium to see how her son gets on. “If I win I get to pick up a trophy in front of my mum which is massive,” he said. “She’s the person that gave me life.“She doesn’t call me after games, because she don’t give a sh** about football to be honest. She’s just my mum. She fed me, made sure I had manners, that kind of thing. But does she ask me about football? No. She’s got a normal life. She walks the dog and cleans the house, that kind of thing.“My mum’s my angel, she’s a legend, but no she doesn’t follow me around with a Watford shirt with Deeney on the back.” © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

'I got 67 tickets'

Troy Deeney celebrates Watford's FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves (Getty Images)

Deeney has made no secret of the events of his upbringing in Chelmsley Wood, a low-income area between Birmingham and the significantly more affluent sections of Solihull. His parents split when he was 10 after his father, who was involved in drug dealing, beat him and his mother.Deeney nevertheless maintained a relationship with his dad, who died of cancer of the oesophagus in 2012. Three days after the funeral Deeney, found guilty of kicking a man in the head during a brawl, was in prison, where he was protected by friends of his late father.Today represents a happier chapter in the story of the Deeney clan therefore, whatever the score. “I got 67 tickets, so there’ll be a few,” he says. “And there’s a box as well so close to 80 will be there.”

Clash of the titans

Deeney likes to make life tough for his opponents (Getty Images)

Exactly how happy depends on Kompany of course. The Belgian has six league titles to his name, including four with Manchester City, who will complete an unprecedented clean sweep of domestic trophies if they prevail this weekend.It is Deeney’s job to give the City defender a hard time and neither is likely to shirk from a physical battle many believe is the only way to unravel Pep Guardiola's back-to-back champions at the back.“Me and Vincent Kompany have got a lot of respect for each other,” he said. “I know I have for him. It’s going to be a real battle because he’s naturally physically strong. I enjoy a physical battle, and neither of us are ever going to back down from one another.”Guardiola has admitted his City side is short in stature compared to most and therefore most vulnerable to an aerial threat, especially from set pieces. Can City be “bullied” therefore?“We’re both 6'0 and pretty wide, I don’t really class it as bullying,” Deeney said. “But we’re definitely going to have a few battles and whoever comes out on top will have a massive impact on the game, I think.”

A dying breed

Kompany could wave goodbye to the Etihad for good as a player this summer (Getty Images)

The FA Cup final could double as Kompany’s City farewell, with the same applying to Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. Both are out of contract at the end of the season and both will hold talks on terms for another season straight after the final. If Kompany does move on then Deeney believes City will have said goodbye to the last “proper centre-half” since Rio Ferdinand.“You’ve just got to look at when he came in, centre of midfield, everyone was saying he was a waste of money. He then dropped back into centre-back and I haven’t seen a better centre-half since Rio. Obviously Virgil van Dijk is up there doing it now, but in terms of the 10-year span of Vincent Kompany, Rio Ferdinand was probably the last proper centre-half.“Then you’ve got to look at how many times he’s broken down injured. How easy would it have been for him to just give up. But every time he comes back and he comes back bigger, better and stronger.“Look at the goals he’s scored from centre-half, important goals. He’s an absolute beast of a man and if you can’t respect that then you’ve got something wrong with you.”
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