Watford's skipper Troy Deeney has declared that his 'buzz' for football is back after his disillusionment with the game reached its peak when online trolls sent him abusive messages about his young daughter last season.
Ahead of his ninth season with the Hornets the 30-year-old reflected on his turbulent season last term which saw him suspended for a total of seven games, where he admitted the cyber bullying contributed to his volatile performances.
Prior to Watford's league opener against Brighton at Vicarage Road, Deeney opened up about his life outside of football and how the two mixed together caused him to be stuck in a cycle of frustration.
“I’m excited - I’ve got the buzz back for football," Deeney said, via the Mirror. “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 also revealed the anger which arose from online trolls targeting his three-year-old daughter Amelia.
He added: “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.”
Ultimately suspension and injury limited Deeney to 31 appearances last term for a return of six goals in all competitions, but the Watford talisman is optimistic for what the new season has in store following a productive and injury free pre season.
“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,” he said.