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Friendship factor key for Watford

HORNET: Adrian Mariappa (Photo credit: Getty Images)

ADRIAN MARIAPPA, until recently a regular with Jamaica's Reggae Boyz, has spoken out about helping a fellow professional get through difficult times. The 31-year-old helped Troy Deeney when the Watford striker was suspended in 2012 and served three months of a 10-month jail sentence.

Deeney and defender Mariappa were team-mates at the London club after coming through the youth scheme. Although Mariappa left in 2012, after making over 200 first-team appearances, to join Reading and subsequently Crystal Palace, he kept in touch with Deeney.

And the pair were reunited at Vicarage Road for the start of the 2016 season, and remain good friends as well as team-mates. Deeney was found guilty of kicking a student in the head during a street brawl so sentenced to a term in prison.

And in contrast that year Mariappa accepted his inaugural call-up to the Reggae Boyz, making his international debut in May 2012 against Guyana. With Deeney suspended by Watford there were no wages from the then Championship club. But Mariappa was swift to offer financial support to Deeney for his partner Stacey and son Myles.

Mariappa, who has won 42 caps for the Reggae Boyz, explained: "I'm sure he would have done the same for me - it's what you do for someone you care about. He was going through a tough time."

And there was a happy ending as Deeney kept his promise to his former cell-mates by paying for them to see him tackle Manchester United in November 2015.

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