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Playground bully

Troy Deeney names the one defender who ‘scares’ Premier League forwards

Watford's bullish forward couldn't resist a dig at Arsenal before identifying the most intimidating centre-back in the league

These days many centre-backs are classy passers and cultured playmakers.

Back in the day they all used to be ugly brutes who would gladly kick a baby in the face if it meant keeping a clean sheet.

In an age where the likes of John Stones is valued at £47.5m, intimidating defenders are an increasingly rare breed.

Pictured: A defender who doesn’t ‘scare’ forwards

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Pictured: A defender who doesn’t ‘scare’ forwards

However, according to Troy Deeney, the Premier League does host at least one defender who genuinely ‘scares’ forwards.

Man United’s Eric Bailly.

The Ivory Coast international has been in superb form ever since returning from injury, culminating in a titanic performance in the Manchester derby on Thursday night.

You don’t mess with United’s No3

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You don’t mess with United’s No3

Deeney praised the 23-year-old’s physicality and menacing presence while talking on BBC 5 Live about Arsenal’s problems.

Watford’s captain said: “When you play against Arsenal there’s no fear.

“When you play against a tough centre-half, like for Man United, [Eric] Bailly, you think ‘oh God, he’s going to give me a whack’

“Arsenal don’t have anyone that gives you that fear.”

Never shy of a battle, Deeney singled out Bailly as a fearsome opponent

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Never shy of a battle, Deeney singled out Bailly as a fearsome opponent

Deeney’s opinion echoes that of Gary Neville who criticised the Gunners’ desire earlier this season.

The Sky Sports pundit questioned Laurent Koscielny’s commitment and was unimpressed with the Frenchman’s frequent withdrawals from games due to ‘little niggles’.

Many Arsenal fans yearn for a character similar to Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira, a fearless leader who gives everything for the badge.

Bailly has displayed such passion and commitment in his debut season for United and has become an Old Trafford favourite in recent weeks.

Jaap Stam, Nemanja Vidic… Bailly could be United’s next great enforcer for years to come.