Troy Deeney says Abdoulaye Doucoure’s character has never been in question despite a summer transfer window rife with speculation about his future.

Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were all interested in signing the 25-year-old before he signed a five-year deal at Vicarage Road.

With the midfielder’s immediate future resolved, Deeney was quick to praise Doucoure’s commitment to the Watford cause.

Deeney said: “Obviously he has had interest from elsewhere and let’s not pretend that he hasn’t. That is football.

“He has decided this is the best club for him and, as a captain, all I can say is he has been great. He hasn’t kicked up a fuss or said he wants to leave and he has got on with things.”

Doucoure’s route to being first name on the team sheet at Vicarage Road has been far from free of obstacles.

Former Watford boss Walter Mazzarri rarely used the Frenchman and it was only injury which first allowed him a prolonged run in the side.

A lack of game time saw Doucoure come close to leaving the club and Deeney again feels his willingness to stay and fight for a starting berth is evidence of his commitment.

“Doucs has been quality and he wasn’t playing for the first six months of being here so nearly went out on loan but decided to stick it out,” he said.

“For me things like that are huge signs of character and he could easily have jumped ship after six months and said it wasn’t for him.

“He could be somewhere else now signing for someone else and we would be saying why did we let him let him go?”