Quique Sanchez Flores backs Troy Deeney for England after Watford sink Palace
Quique Sanchez Flores supported Troy Deeney's England credentials after the Watford striker's brace inspired his team to a 2-1 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace.
Having been recalled to Sanchez Flores' starting XI, club captain Deeney won the 16th-minute penalty from which he calmly scored Watford's opening goal, and after Emmanuel Adebayor headed Palace level and the hosts were in the ascendency, he superbly controlled Ben Watson's cross before shooting their second underneath goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
The goals were his eighth and ninth of the season, but given much of his responsibility at Watford comes in providing a platform for fellow striker Odion Ighalo and that the presence of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Charlie Austin and Theo Walcott means competition for selection in the England team is intense, an international call-up is unlikely.
Sanchez Flores has also previously managed Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, David Villa, Fernando Morientes and others, but asked if Deeney was good enough to play for England, the Spaniard responded: "Yes, I've already said. This kind of player can can combine with everyone, with Kane, with Vardy, with other players, he can combine with other players.
"But I want to stop about that, because I am not the manager of the national team, I respect (Roy) Hodgson a lot.
"(Deeney) has an amazing personality. He is not just a striker for us. He started the season as a striker, then as a second striker, and now he's playing for the system.
"It's not just like a striker, his value for the collective, his work-rate, pressure, defending deep, interceptions... he's a very important player for us."
The result, leaving Palace without a league victory since December 19, extended Alan Pardew's worst run since his appointment as Crystal Palace manager, and though he was pleased with their improved second-half performance, he labelled the opening 45 minutes the worst he had overseen.
"That was as poor and unbalanced a side as I can remember putting out for Palace, it just wasn't happening for us," said Pardew, whose team remained 12th with 32 points at the final whistle, four points and four places behind Watford.
"Too many long balls, it was a bit worrying if I'm honest.
"If I thought there was a complacency or lack of effort, that would really worry me. The things that worry me are technical issues, like the balance of the team, and making sure we dominate games, particularly against teams like Watford.
"It's been a difficult run. The boys' reaction after half-time was about as good as I could hope for. We were a little bit unlucky to have lost this game."