Troy Deeney is the best captain Watford could have, according to Hornets head coach Javi Gracia.

The Watford skipper found himself at the centre of controversy, not for the first time this season, after his middle finger salute during Watford’s 4-1 defeat of Chelsea on Monday.

Deeney avoided a third ban of the campaign after the FA panel failed to reach a unanimous decision on whether his celebration warranted a red card.

Gracia insists Deeney is aware of his responsibilities as captain and praised the 29-year-old’s leadership qualities.

“Troy is our captain, he knows what the best behaviour is and I am sure he will do better in the future,” Gracia said.

“I think Troy Deeney is the best captain we can have at the moment. That is all I can say, he’s the best captain – as a player, his behaviour – I think he is the best.”

Deeney’s leadership qualities have been well documented during his eight years at Vicarage Road, but his latest brush with the law have led some to question his commitment.

For Gracia, performances on the pitch take priority and he believes Deeney is both delivering in matches and with his duties as captain.

“All the things are important. The most important thing is how he plays. The most important aspect is on the pitch,” he said.

“After, he can do other important things in the changing room and other places.”

Deeney’s first chance to put in a performance comes with tomorrow’s visit to West Ham United, where Watford will look to put more space between themselves and the drop zone.

Watford’s number nine has been struggling with an ankle complaint, but Gracia expects his captain to be available for the clash with the Hornets’ relegation rivals.