Adrian Mariappa says Troy Deeney’s leadership qualities have never been in doubt after the Watford skipper scored the winning goal against West Brom.

Deeney struck for the second week on the spin to put the Hornets ahead with 13 minutes to play and give his side their first back-to-back wins in the league since November.

The 29-year-old striker looks to be back to his best after an up and down campaign, but Mariappa says Deeney’s role encompasses more than what he offers on the pitch.

“Whether Troy is scoring goals or not, outside of the pitch he is massive for the club. He is club captain and he has a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” Mariappa said.

“He has got goals in the last two games and has taken them brilliantly, but he is always a massive player whether he scores goals or not and is vital to the way we play.

“You do not become captain at a Premier League club for no reason and there is a huge responsibility on and off the pitch.”

The win came with an added bonus for the Watford defence as they picked up their second clean sheet in succession.

They moved up to ninth in the table and they are nine points clear of the drop ahead of Crystal Palace’s meeting with Manchester United on Monday night.

Mariappa says Watford’s new found defensive solidity, which has yielded three shut outs in five Premier League games since Javi Gracia took over, has lifted the mood in the Watford squad.

He said: “As a defender it is massive to get clean sheets and it is something that fills the whole team with confidence.

“It is something we have been working on and to get back-to-back clean sheets is massive.”

Saturday’s win was a significant one for Mariappa as he brought up his 250th start for the Hornets and marked the occasion with a man of the match performance.

Having left Watford in 2012, the centre-back says bringing up such a landmark was something he rarely thought would happen after he departed Vicarage Road.

He said: “At the time it is not something you think about but you never know in football and you never say never. To come back last season and to play a big role this season is massive for me.”