Deeney explains 'cojones' comment as he urges people to speak out on mental health issues

Birmingham striker Deeney has explained exactly why he said Arsenal lacked ‘cojones’ following the Gunner's late defeat to Watford during the 2017-18 season.

Arsenal were beaten 2-1 at Vicarage Road during Arsene Wenger’s final season at the club, after a penalty from Deeney and an injury-time winner from Tom Cleverley overturned Per Mertesacker’s first-half opener.

The French tactician bemoaned the referee's decision to award Watford a penalty, before Deeney controversially claimed that the real reason Arsenal were beaten was because they lacked ‘cojones’.

Half a decade later, Deeney has admitted to GOAL that the comments have never really left him since then and has elaborated on what he actually meant that evening.

"The 'cojones' situation never really left. It was like one match that I was talking about and I got absolutely slaughtered by everybody for that. I've grown up in a tough environment so I am careful with my words. I know what is respectful and what's not.

"After saying that I saw the Arsenal players a few weeks after and nobody had a problem. They understood what I was saying and what I wasn't saying. It wasn't saying I'm better than them, because I'm certainly not. Was it saying that Watford was better than them? It's certainly not. It's just in that individual game I thought they lacked the steel to see it over the line and that was it," the Birmingham striker clarified.

Troy Deeney Watford Getty Images

The 34-year-old also opened up about the importance of mental health and the need to talk to someone when you are not in a good frame of mind. Deeney revealed that he is still in therapy and that has helped him a lot to progress and focus.

"I cremated my dad on Friday and then went to jail on a Monday. It was very, very quick. My dad died after three months of battling cancer. Seeing my hero, the biggest and strongest man I knew, crumble and break really quick (was difficult). I was drinking an awful lot which ended up with me getting into trouble and in jail.

"It certainly put me on a path and I have not definitely finished that yet. Still doing therapy and now I'm actually doing two different types of therapy. There's a lot of talk about mental health. Everyone has their own understanding and I really dislike the word 'normal'. Because your normal and my normal are completely two different things.

"I would definitely implore anyone who's having struggles or hard times just to reach out and talk to someone. The first couple of times it was a bit painful but what I noticed was that I slept a lot better after two hours of sessions. And I was like 'Oh, this might be working!" he said.

Deeney was speaking to GOAL as he took part in Box to Box- check out more of our video content on our YouTube channel, including interviews with the likes of Declan Rice, Raphael Varane, and Kieran Tierney!