Troy Deeney has revealed he lost the “buzz” for football after sick trolls sent him abusive messages about his three-year-old daughter.
Watford’s ebullient skipper begins his ninth season at Vicarage Road admitting the cyber pondlife’s insults contributed to his red mist last year, when Deeney sat out seven games through suspension and escaped a third ban for a crude gesture.
And when he was stuck in the cycle of anger and frustration, the Hornets’ longest-serving player even concedes it made him think: ‘Do I want to do this any more?’
Deeney bared his soul as Watford prepared for Saturday’s curtain-raiser at home to Brighton, saying: “I’m excited – I’ve got the buzz back for football.
“I lost it for a little bit and that’s been reflected in all the people who tell me I’ve lost loads of weight.
“I got my own little team together over the summer: a nutritionist, a psychologist, working with Jamie Reynolds (one of world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s trainers), and I stuck to a plan.
"The hardest thing for me is not having a plan and being left to my own devices.
“What made me do it? People writing me off – I didn’t love it at the time, but I love it now because they will have to come back begging (for forgiveness)… that’s the part I can’t wait for.
“I lost the love because the fickleness, all the pussyfooting around in football, was really getting to me.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to keep his mouth shut. But when you speak up and challenge things, and you end up getting in trouble, it makes you think, ‘Do I want to do this any more’?”
Deeney, who has bagged 112 goals for Watford, saw red again when online morons decided his young daughter Amelia was fair game for cyber-trash.
He said: “When you post a picture of your daughter and people are saying certain things, you want to go and deal with it. But it’s probably a 15-year-old kid who’s just got home from school and he’s bored.”
Deeney scored only six goals last season, partly because he missed pre-season after groin surgery, but he senses a more productive harvest in 2018-19.
He said: “This time last year, I had just had an operation, I missed pre-season and was busting my b******s to catch up, and I probably over-tried because I got sent off twice.
“My frustration was always going to come out and a lot of the comments made about my daughter were being made around that time. Now I’ve got a feeling this year could be the best yet.”
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