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Adrian Mariappa
Position: Defender
From: Watford FC Academy
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Raw material


Adrian Mariappa was one of three academy graduates to be offered professional terms at the end of the turbulent 2004-05 season. Of the three, he was the only one yet to make his first team bow by the close season, Al Bangura and Junior Osborne both being given tasters of action before the campaign came to an end - although Adrian was a non-playing substitute for the final day visit of West Ham.

However, the start of the 2005-06 season has seen Mariappa make his senior debut against Notts County in the League Cup, and earn a place on the bench for the trip to Derby County over the August Bank Holiday; this is someone that Betty (and, one assumes, David Hockaday) clearly rates.

Glimpses of Adrian in action have thus far been limited; as captain of the youth team that reached the Quarter Final of the FA Youth Cup in 2005, he impressed hugely in the defeat of holders Middlesbrough in the Fifth Round and his frustration at the subsequent defeat to Spurs was evident to all in the stadium. However, he clearly has a mistake or two in him at this early stage - his lapses of concentration contributed to both goals in that Spurs defeat and also in the otherwise irrelevant Notts County consolation during his senior debut, a match where he played at left back rather than his first choice centre-back.

Fortunately, at (almost) nineteen, we can probably afford to bring Adrian on gradually - the first choice pairing of Mackay and Carlisle, Jay Demerit and probably Lloyd Doyley and Dom Blizzard are ahead of him in the queue for a central defensive spot. It will be interesting to see whether our new management team can hone obvious natural ability into a first team footballer.

Matt Rowson
Last updated: September 2005