First Team 13/02/2020

Pearson: “I’m My Own Man, He’s His Own Man”

Nigel Pearson said his relationship with Craig Shakespeare is fundamental to what he’s trying to achieve at Watford, revealing they only accepted the challenge at Vicarage Road on the basis they would stick to their principles and go about their business with a sense of perspective.

Pearson and Shakespeare, who worked together at West Brom, Hull City and twice at Leicester, walked in the door in December and while laying out a few ground rules, particularly around punctuality and discipline, they immediately set about winning a few hearts and minds. Smiles were immediately restored to faces and the upshot was four wins in five games. 

“We both came here with a similar mindset in that ‘let’s give it a go, let’s enjoy it as well’,” said the Head Coach in an interview with Premier League Productions.

“We both promised ourselves that we wouldn't come into something like this and spend all our time worrying. We want to embrace the challenge and enjoy it for what it is. It's fair to say we've both got quite a dark sense of humour as well, and humour is very important. That doesn't mean everything is a laugh and a joke. It allows you to lighten a difficult mood. There is the right and wrong time to do that.

“It's important that we work with as little fear as possible, but with a realistic outlook on what the task is. If we don't have that we send the wrong message. It’s important that everyone understands what is expected of them to contribute to changing our fortunes.”

Conventional wisdom would have it that Pearson wields the big stick and Shakespeare dangles the carrot, that Pearson plays the bad cop and Shakespeare assumes the good-cop role, but the Head Coach said that isn’t necessarily the case.

“People have mis-placed views on what our two characters are like,” he said. “I think I’m probably a bit more soft than he is and I’m maybe a bit more tolerant of some things. I’m just really pleased I've got him alongside me. It’s two people who have had different experiences and some shared experiences.

“I’m my own man, he’s his own man. We don’t always agree on everything, but we are both team players. It’s also very important for me to have somebody who understands what I am. I’m not always the easiest to work with I’d suspect so it’s actually good to have someone who understands you and who you trust implicty.”

First Team 13/02/2020

Watch: Deeney & The Duke Play Heads Up Jenga

The Duke of Cambridge has kicked off a conversation about mental health with stars from men’s and women’s football - including Watford captain Troy Deeney - over a game of Jenga.
As part of the Heads Up campaign, The Duke of Cambridge joined Deeney as well as Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, Wycombe Wanderers’ Adebayo Akinfenwa and former Arsenal women’s player Kelly Smith for a game of Jenga with a difference.
Drawing on their own experiences on and off the football pitch, the players shared personal anecdotes as they opened up about how they manage pressure, and discussed with The Duke the importance of talking and why mental health should no longer be a taboo subject.

In the film, Deeney reflects on personal tragedy and the power of talking, and ex-Watford loanee Townsend reveals how a meaningful ‘How are you?’ from his manager helped him return to scoring on the pitch.

Speaking in the film, The Duke of Cambridge says: “Part of this is all about just being more open about how we feel and just being able to talk about those feelings and everyone not shying way. I think we’re quite modest in this country, we don’t want to delve, we don’t want to upset, we don’t want to offend anyone, so therefore we don’t really ask. And actually we’ve got to be a bit more punchy and say, how are you doing, and do you want to talk a bit more about that?”
The film was created to help launch the ‘Heads Up Weekends’, which are seeing football unite in a bid to kick off the biggest ever conversation around mental health.
Fans are encouraged to visit for tips on how to #KickOffAConversation about mental health, and to watch the full video with Deeney and The Duke of Cambridge.