Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Deeney ready for shock venture thanks to Watford stars… and Christina Aguilera


Troy Deeney couldn’t help but laugh as he recalled the road that’s led him to playing in the UK Open Pool Championship.

The Watford legend shocked fans by announcing he’d be swapping football pitches for billiard rooms by taking part in the World Nineball Tour Ranking Event in Telford this May.

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Deeney will be showcasing his talents at the Telford International Centre, live on Sky SportsCredit: AFP or licensors

Deeney has played pool religiously throughout his life, having his own table in his house and practicing at training grounds, particularly during his 11 years at Vicarage Road.

But whilst the 35-year-old didn’t quite expect his next step after leaving Forest Green to involve him picking up a pool cue in a competitive event, he’s had plenty of experience playing the sport under pressure.

That’s thanks to some cheeky antics from ex-Watford teammates, Ben Foster and Craig Cathcart.

“Don’t let Ben’s YouTube channel fool you,” Deeney laughed, speaking to talkSPORT.com. “On there he’s a nice guy but he’s a really spiteful man, especially to me.”

The former Watford captain recalled being hit in the back of the head by grapes, nuts and even being knocked by his pals whilst trying to show off his pool skills at the training ground.

“Those two gave me the best game, that’s the problem, they were really good,” he said. “They didn’t need to cheat! Etienne Capoue was good as well to be fair!

“Footballers are not bad [at pool]. You’ve got good hand-eye coordination so you can see what you want to do, you just have to execute it.”

Now, with less fruit-related distractions, Deeney has begun preparing for next month’s tournament, starting by playing talkSPORT’s resident pool lover, Andy Goldstein in a ‘tune up’ match at the Moretown Belle in east London.

Deeney's preparation for the UK Pool Open involved a 'friendly' game against Drive's Andy Goldstein

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Deeney’s preparation for the UK Pool Open involved a ‘friendly’ game against Drive’s Andy GoldsteinCredit: talkSPORT

The Drivetime host – and former school mate of snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan – beat the former Premier League striker 5-1 in the end, as he too prepared for his own competitive pool event happening later this year.

“The scoreline wasn’t reflective, it suggests I got part of my body handed to me,” Deeney joked after the game. “The problem is, because I’ve hit an unbelievable shot, it would be made out as a fluke, but it wasn’t. 

“But to be fair, he’s had a whole childhood of playing, which is unreal.”

Immersing himself into the world of pool, Deeney has now also been given a pool nickname, picked by the listeners of the Hawksbee and Jacobs show.

Deeney says he's getting t-shirts inspired by his new nickname made up as we speak

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Deeney says he’s getting t-shirts inspired by his new nickname made up as we speakCredit: talkSPORT

His chosen alter-ego? Troy ‘The Genie’ Deeney. Luckily for the Watford legend, Goldstein’s idea of ‘Teeny Deeney’ wasn’t adopted.

What walk out music would be more fitting for Deeney to walk out to in Telford, then, than Christina Aguilera’s 1999 hit ‘Genie in a Bottle’?

And whilst he still has a month of intense training to do for the actual pool games, he’s perhaps over-prepared for his walk out moment.

“I think [my nickname] fits with my ethos with who I am!” he smiled. “Christina Aguilera banging out, that’s been played out in my car many a time!”

Goldstein told Deeney he's got nothing to lose going into the competition next month

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Goldstein told Deeney he’s got nothing to lose going into the competition next monthCredit: talkSPORT

Deeney is yet to find out who he will face in Telford, but the excitement around his wildcard introduction to the world of competitive pool has already got fans excited.

“It’s been good fun,” Deeney continued. “I’m the kind of person who says ‘why not, why not try something new’.

“Being a wildcard [for the competition], people are now looking into pool, even if it’s one more person. I know we’ve had a good reaction to it.

“Now we have more eyes and ears on it and the world no.1 has called me out! He won’t want to be the guy that loses to a professional footballer!

“But I just want to showcase that sport.”

And like his nickname suggests, he can now make that wish come true.



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