The departure of one of the Hornets’ most fantastic ever skippers has left the English top-flight club looking for a long-term replacement
Watford manager Xisco Munoz has named Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong among the four players in line to take over from Troy Deeney as the club’s captain.
After 11 years and more than 400 matches with Watford, leading the club to Premier League promotion twice, Deeney finally left the club as a free agent in August. The 33-year-old striker has since signed for Birmingham City.
Watford brought Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis from Club Brugge in the summer to replace the English striker but are yet to select a substantial captain for the first team.
In the first few games played so far when Deeney was still on the Hornets’ bench, Tom Cleverley, goalkeeper Ben Foster, and fullback Craig Cathcart took turns handling the captain’s armband.
Cleverley is the early favourite for the role as he was named captain in two of Watford’s three EPL games, including the 3-2 triumph at Vicarage Road over Aston Villa on the opening weekend.
Nigerian striker Emmanuel Dennis scored one, assisted another, and claimed the man of the match award in that encounter.
But Super Eagles centre-back Troost-Ekong, who joined from Udinese last year, is also in the mix, having skippered the side a few times in the Championship last term.
And Xisco included the Nigerian international in the four players he is considering for captain.
As per the Watford Observer, the Spanish manager said: “I have Ben Foster, we have Tom Cleverley, (William Troost) Ekong, Cathcart.
“It’s the moment for the new young players to take one step forward. This is the situation. For me, we have a very good group of good players.
“Tom Cleverley always gives positive things, is always working very hard. Ben Foster, Ekong, Kabasele, I can say names like this.
“But the most important is we have inside of the dressing room good leaders, and this is the most important.”
Since he arrived at Vicarage Road in September last year, Troost-Ekong has made 37 appearances for Watford, scoring once.
The 28-year-old defender is not a stranger to leading a team as he is the vice-captain of the Super Eagles, co-leading the former African champions to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
If Troost-Ekong gets selected, he won’t be the first Nigerian international to skipper a Premier League club.
FIFA Technical Advisory Group member Austin Okocha captained Bolton Wanderers during his time at the club.
Super Eagles assistant coach Joseph Yobo also fulfilled the same role at Everton in the early 2000s.
It’s good news for Nigerian football