Watford of England striker, Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis appeared to suffer a hangover of the controversial manner in which he was withdrawn from the Super Eagles’ squad to this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, e360hubs.com reports.
Negative effects of his failure to turn up in the Eagles’ camp for the impending competition in Cameroon seemed to hit Dennis when he ended up being replaced at half time of his club’s 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.
Watford’s coach, Claudio Ranieri, who instigated Dennis exit from the Eagles’ AFCON 2021 roster, when he declared that the letter of invitation from Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) got to Vicarage Road late, admitted that the attacker was nervous.
That accounted for a very poor show from The Hornets’ top scorer as the former Zorya of Ukraine, Club Brugge of Belgium and FC Cologne of Germany attacker put every foot wrong before bowing out and that accounted to a large extent for his side’s defeat at home.
The dismal show by Dennis was in contrast with that of Eagles’ vice-captain, and potential team leader in Cameroon, William Troost-Ekong, who got to play all 90 minutes of Saturday’s game at Vicarage Road.
Watford lost their sixth consecutive match in the English Premier League on New Year’s day after conceding a late goal in a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road.
Troost-Ekong got much needed game time before heading off to Abuja to link up with his international teammates at their training camp, going ninety against the Lodnon-based club, whose academy he played for as a kid, but he could not save his current side from losing at home.
Watford stood firm in pursuit of their first clean sheet of the season until stoppage time when Davinson Sanchez made the Tottenham Hotspur pressure pay, nodding in from close range an excellent delivery from Heung-min Son.
All eyes were on Dennis on Saturday afternoon, following his withdrawal from the Nigeria squad for the upc oming AFCON, but the club’s most influential player and top scorer so far this season had to make way for João Pedro at halftime.
While also pointing out that Dennis is nursing a knock, The Hornets’ gaffer admitted that he had to take the attacker off because he noticed that his heart was not in the game, as he seemingly woke up to the fact that he has not played for Nigeria since getting off the bench against Sierra Leone in a 2021 AFCON qualifier on November 17, 2020.
Ranieri submitted: “He had a little problem, then I saw him a little nervous. Maybe disappointed. All the players want to go to play for their national team, but also want to stay here.
“A little bit disappointed, a little bit happy to stay here. The board spoke with the national team of Nigeria, that is it finished.”