Watford of England summer singing, William Troost-Ekong had a bitter-sweet evening on his full English Championship debut with the club he joined last month, as his side got a 1-0 victory away to Derby County, megasportsarena.com reports.
Troost-Ekong’s evening with The Hornets began in heartwarming way, as he was on from the start in the heart of defence for the away side but, despite putting up a herculean show that helped his side hold their own against their desperate hosts, he lasted only 71 minutes before he asked to be replaced and was seen nursing his left hamstring as he went to the sidelines.
The Super Eagles’ assistant captain, who was bought from Udinese of Italy last month, was among the standout players for Watford coach, Vladimir Ivić, who reposed faith in the Holland-born stopper for Friday evening’s English Championship clash with The Rams at Pride Park.
Troost-Ekong started in a five-man defense also featuring Jeremy Ngakia, Christian Kabasele, Ben Wilmot and Kiko Femenia; after opting to leave Nigeria’s camp in Austria, following his skipper’s role in the Eagles’ 1-0 loss to Algeria in an international friendly last week Friday.
That meant he opted to miss the next friendly against Tunisia at same venue, as the former Tottenham Hotspur of England youth team player, who has also starred for Dordrecht of Holland, Haugesund of Norway, KAA Gent of Belgium and Bursaspor of Turkey centre back wanted to begin early preparations for the game against Derby.
That was mostly because he had been a non-playing substitute against Reading in the last game before the international break and ended up clashing head-to-head with former Manchester United of England striker, Wayne Rooney, who was also in Derby’s starting line-up for Friday’s game.
Although Troost-Ekong featured in the English U21 Premier League during his days with Spurs, Friday’s match turned out to be his first competitive match at senior level in Queensland, but his Nigerian compatriots at Watford were missing, as Isaac Success is still recovering from injury and Tom Dele-Bashiru was last week ruled out for three months.
Troost-Ekong was, however, replaced by Craig Cathcart in the 71st minute, while The Hornets’ Nigerian-born youngster, Joseph Hungbo was benched for the entire duration of the game, in which a superb strike from Joao Pedro earned Watford victory and Derby crashed to a fifth consecutive home defeat in the Championship.
In a game low on quality and chances, Pedro conjured a moment of inspiration with Watford’s first serious attempt on goal to settle the contest, while Rooney had a good chance to snatch a point but shot wide and Derby have now lost four of their opening five matches.
Watford moved up to fifth position on the log and the team that has scored only two goals in four league games this season almost caught Derby out with a long ball over the top in the 12th minute, only for David Marshall to get there before Ken Sema.
Rooney, who had scored a sublime free kick at Norwich City before the international break, saw his delivery from a corner cause the first moment of concern for Watford, but no white shirt was able to take advantage as the ball sailed across the six-yard box, leaving Troost-Ekong to enjoy a neat clean sheet on his full debut in the EPL.
In the wake of Friday’s encounter, Troost-Ekong, who made 45 touches, four clearances, won one aerial contest, and had an 89% successful pass rate to help his side keep a clean sheet and saw him nominated for man of the match, expressed his delight at making a winning start to life at Watford.
Troost-Ekong took to social media to reveal his emotions and he posted: “Happy to make my Watford debut tonight with three points and a clean sheet! Well done to the boys! On to the next one on Wednesday.”