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Tommy Mooney on following progress of ‘friend’ Troy Deeney

Watford legend Tommy Mooney says he keeps an eye out for the results of his former team, who meet his employers tomorrow, to see if his big pal Troy Deeney has scored.

Mooney and Deeney played up front together at times for Walsall during Mooney’s final season in 2007/08 and have remained good friends. In fact, Mooney provided a sounding board for the Watford captain when Deeney was linked with moves away from Vicarage Road during successive summers.

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“I played with Troy Deeney when he was a young kid at Walsall,” Mooney said in an interview for the website of Aston Villa, where he looks after the club’s loan players. “We’ve remained friends since then. I actually keep looking for their results just to see if Troy scores.”

Deeney scored one at Villa Park at November and Odion Ighalo got another as the deadly duo, who were then at the peak of their powers, fired Watford to a 3-2 win that sparked a four-match winning streak. “The two boys up front work very, very hard and can score goals,” said Mooney.

Mooney was at Wembley on Sunday and believes Watford will be “wounded”, after last weekend’s morale-sapping semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace at Wembley. Aston Villa, meanwhile, are in crisis.

Mooney on Sunday in the Bobby Moore lounge with Watford fan Jo Brooks
Mooney on Sunday in the Bobby Moore lounge with Watford fan Jo Brooks

“Obviously both teams are wounded and I believe it will be a very hard fought game, but hopefully we [Villa] come away with the three points,” Mooney said. “If I look at their team, I think they’re very workmanlike and organised. They showed that at Villa Park earlier on in the season.”

Mooney still looks back at his Watford career with great fondness, particularly his relationship with Graham Taylor.

“Graham was my first manager in football when I was at Villa as a young pro. I knew all about him,” Mooney said. “I originally signed for Glenn Roeder at Watford. When Graham came in, he turned the club around and did the things that I’d already watched him do as a young pro at Villa. I was enthused that he’d come in. He released me as a young pro so you have certain reservations. But he spoke to me on the first morning that he came in and said that he watched me play in the Championship and that I’d definitely be part of his squad.

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“He even told me he was going to make me his captain. I spent eight seasons at Watford, originally signing on loan and then helping to keep us in the Championship at the time – and then went on to have a certain amount of success. We were promoted to the Premier League and I finally left in 2001. I had a great eight seasons there. My children were born in Hertfordshire when I was playing for the club. It was a fantastic period for me. My relationship with Graham went from strength to strength and I would certainly say a lot of the success I had in my career is down to the things that he instilled in me as a young player and again as a more experienced pro towards the end.”