Watford have confirmed captain Troy Deeney is set for a spell on the sidelines following an Achilles tendon injury. The Hornets’ legend is always given the armband when starting and is known for his leadership abilities. But, his form has notably declined the past few seasons. Now, in his absence, manager Xisco Munoz knows the leadership void needs filling.
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‘Other Leaders’ Needed in Deeney Absence, Insists Munoz
“It’s important the experienced players stay with us, and also the captains every time help us on and off the pitch. Now is the moment for other leaders to give their maximum on the pitch.”
Tom Cleverley has typically worn the armband in Deeney’s absences this season. The former Manchester United midfielder has consistently done the dirty work in the middle of the pitch. He has also found the back of the net four times so far – sometimes being deployed in a more advanced midfield role.
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“Everybody knows now is an important moment for us and all the players are important for me,” said Munoz. “We will see what is the first XI in the next game, but we have a lot of games. It’s important we try to put who is better in this moment in for this game.”
Munoz faces a wide array of selection headaches. In the midfield, he has to choose between Nathanial Chalobah, Will Hughes, Cleverley, and new signing Dan Gosling. All have performed notably well whenever on the pitch in the past couple of matches. Whether or not January arrival Philip Zinckernagel will start his first league match is a decision Munoz has to ponder. Even in defence, the centre-back pairing is not set in stone. He admitted the depth is “the perfect problem to have.”
With the season two-thirds of the way done, Watford know to stay in the race for the automatic promotion places, dropping points cannot be a frequent occurrence. With all still to play for, Munoz is right: leaders are necessary. Fortunately for him, there is a surplus of them at Vicarage Road if he continues to keep the players’ fondness and optimism.