Troy Deeney completed a sudden move to his boyhood club, Birmingham City, and sent joyous shockwaves through the Bluenose fanbase 0n deadline day. After an incredible 11 year career at Watford, the Chelmsley native has decided to return home. What a story it is.
A local lad being catapulted into a dazzling career at the peak of world football, to then complete his decorated career at the club that made him fall in love with the sport. It really is a story anyone can get behind.
Troy Deeney and His Move to Birmingham City
Despite playing in the Premier League for most of his senior career, Deeney always kept his bond with England’s second city. Maintaining relationships with prominent Birmingham players and fans, to the club’s crest engraved into his right leg. There is no doubt the man is a Blue through and through.
However, heart-warming narratives do not win football matches, and some Blues fans have their doubts as to why exactly manager Lee Bowyer thought this a necessary move. Are these questions justified? Can Troy Deeney still perform to the best of his ability at 33 years old? And where exactly does the ex-Watford captain fit in Bowyer’s plans going forward?
Deeney is Natural Leader
Rather than simply being another part of the reformed Birmingham City, Troy Deeney could in fact be integral to their push for the top six. His presence may be felt off the pitch even more than on it. Deeney is well renowned by Watford fans and other players as a vocal force in the changing rooms.
He is a man who isn’t afraid to say it how it is and drive the heart and passion into his teammates. Craig Gardner summed it up perfectly in a recent interview with the club: “Troy’s came in, and you see that nastiness about him. That’s what we’ve been missing. That’s what we need.”
Tactics can go a long way but can only get you so far. Birmingham found this out the hard way under previous coach Aitor Karanka. The man who served alongside Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, along with a successful seven years at Middlesbrough, couldn’t quite cut it in the West Midlands.
His intricate approach to gameplay he was used to was far from the rough and ready style Birmingham have always been associated with. Lee Bowyer, and now Troy Deeney, are synonymous with that fighting style. Deeney is that on-field figure that Birmingham have been missing. And as a fan of the club, you can be sure that he will be fighting tooth and nail for every point and demand the same from those around him.
Behind the jubilation, there is also plenty of doubt from neutrals and even sections of the Birmingham fanbase. As with all strikers who move teams in their mid-thirties, Troy Deeney has his star qualities in question. Can a 33-year-old really push an excelling Birmingham City over the line?
It is a fair assessment to say the Blues will not be getting a prime Premier League striker at the peak of his fitness or abilities. But the idea that upper echelon players can only maintain an ‘all or nothing’ worth is ridiculous. Despite not being five years younger, what Troy Deeney can currently offer is something that all Championship clubs would benefit from.
His tendency to bully even the toughest of centre backs is still going to be utilised. Not to mention a player who truly puts his heart and soul into every touch is worth its weight in gold to any team.
However, where Deeney will fit into Lee Bowyer’s current tactical setup is a more hazy answer. Lukas Jutkiewicz is a striker who has grown into a cult-like hero at St Andrews, who also happens to be in brilliant form. Possessing similar attributes as a ‘hardened’ forward, this could cause issues for Troy Deeney’s immediate involvement in Birmingham’s starting 11.
Scott Hogan is another striker regularly seeing a starting role for quite some time. Offering a different alternative to the Birmingham frontline, this pacey striker can carry the ball much quicker and effectively, making him the perfect accompaniment to a player such as Jutkiewicz or Deeney. Taking either of these two strikers for Deeney could become problematic.
Does Bowyer leave out a crucial Lukas Jutkiewicz for Deeney in a like-for-like swap? Or does he replace Scott Hogan and risk switching up his game plan to split defences?
The probable answer to this is, in fact, neither. The likelihood will be the three strikers working on a rotation basis. With Championship teams seeing 46 games in a season, along with additional cup competitions, fatigue becomes evident across the entire league. Birmingham are no exception, with Jutkiewicz’s endurance being especially criticised previously.
With this in mind, as well as his established leadership qualities, Troy Deeney could be the missing link between Birmingham City and a 2021/22 promotion push.