By George Overhill

25th Feb, 2023 | 9:57pm

Birmingham City captain Troy Deeney offers assistance to Leeds United boss Javi Gracia by text

Troy Deeney has been texting new Leeds United boss Javi Gracia to offer his assistance as the Spaniard returns to the Premier League.

The pair were together at Watford before the manager was sacked just months after leading the club to the FA Cup final at the end of the 2018/19 season.

And Deeney is now confident that the Whites will beat relegation with his former manager in charge because of how intimidating Elland Road is on high-stakes match days.

The Birmingham City captain wrote in a column for The Sun: “I have been texting him recently and he is really excited and so grateful for the opportunity.

“I follow quite a lot of Leeds pages on Twitter because my dad used to be a fan back in the day, so I have a vested interest.

“I said to Javi that if there was anything I could do to help, even if it is just getting him to understand just how big the club is.

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“When his name was mentioned at first I was quite surprised. Then the more I thought about it and looked at it, it makes absolute sense…

“I now think Leeds have got a great chance of staying up. Can you imagine what it is going to be like as an opposition player when you have Elland Road rocking and it is a must-win game?

“No thanks. It will be so intimidating.


Given how the search for a successor to Jesse Marsch lurched between candidates for so long, including the near-appointment of ex-Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder before a furious backlash from fans, there has been very little in the way of negative reaction to Gracia’s arrival from anywhere.

The fact that the board still managed to make that such an ordeal by waiting for two weeks after originally making contact before deciding to bring him in, risking him being unable to take charge of the 1-0 win over Southampton on Saturday (25 February) because of his work permit, made it far from seamless.

But the assessment of the 52-year-old’s merits as a manager and the chance he will give Leeds United to beat the drop has been very positive.

Deeney saw his fair share of managers come and go at Vicarage Road and is usually not afraid to speak his mind but his backing is quite clear.

Things got off to the perfect, if edgy, start with victory over the Saints at Elland Road in Gracia’s first match, with Junior Firpo the unlikely figure to inspire the side to three points.

That result took the Whites back out of the relegation zone, and provided a desperately-needed platform from which the new manager can work to move away from the bottom three.

In other Leeds United news, one club favourite got himself in trouble amid the “chaos” during the game despite having gone off a quarter-hour earlier.

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