Super Eagles star William Troost-Ekong has a point to prove.
The defender played youth football at both Fulham and Spurs, but after being told by coaching staff in North London that he wasn’t good enough to succeed in the professional game, he was forced to venture down an alternative route.
The 27-year old’s varied career has seen him clock up over 170 appearances at various top-flight clubs including Gent, Bursaspor and Udinese.
Troost-Ekong was left out of the matchday squad against Norwich on Boxing Day and was only named amongst the substitutes during the club’s 2-1 loss to Swansea at the beginning of 2021.
However, he returned to the side on January 9th, as the Hertfordshire outfit faced in-form Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup.
Unfortunately, the Dutch-born defender wasn’t able to help mastermind a shock victory, although the second-tier side put up a decent fight, and fired in 18 shots throughout the 90 minutes.
The Red Devils are unbeaten domestically since the beginning of November, and as a result, they are third favourites in the Premier League odds.
Although they made a handful of changes for this fixture, they will undoubtedly be relieved to have successfully negotiated a potentially tricky draw.
Unfortunately, Manchester United striker and Troost-Ekong’s international teammate Odion Ighalo was left on the bench, and did not feature against his former club.
Despite his lack of action, the 31-year old Lagos-born star took the opportunity to catch up with his compatriot for the first time since July 2019.
— William Troost-Ekong (@WTroostEkong) January 10, 2021
Although his recent appearances have been few and far between, the combative defender has still managed to clock up over 900 minutes of Championship football this season and scored his first goal in English football during the club’s topsy-turvy 3-2 victory over Coventry in early November.
Watford matches have been particularly low-scoring so far this season, with an average of just 1.91 goals per game.
The club have conceded just three times during the defender’s last six appearances, and although his performances have been relatively solid, he is yet to win over new boss Xisco Munoz.
The former Dinamo Tbilisi chief was only appointed at the end of December, and he still appears to be getting to grips with the rigours of Championship management.
There is still a long way to go and plenty more matches to be played, however, Troost-Ekong is completely committed to guiding his side back to the top tier at the first time of asking.
With the disparaging words of Spurs’ coaching staff still ringing in her ears, the Super Eagles regular is even more determined to prove to his doubters that he can succeed in the Premier League.