Aitor Karanka says he ‘loves’ Troy Deeney – even if the Watford striker marked the 500th league appearance of his career with a goal that condemned Birmingham City to defeat.
The boyhood Bluenose struck with five minutes remaining at St Andrew’s, his fifth goal against Blues.
And Karanka joked he’d love to sign the 32-year-old Birmingham City fan.
“I love him because ever since I’ve been here I’ve loved him,” Karanka said.
“I don’t just see him as a good player because everyone can see how good he is, but I like him because I’ve spent a bit of time with him and you can see he’s a proper leader in the changing room.
“I have a very good relationship with him, he’s a top player.
“I’ve got to know him through my teams playing against him so I’ve got to know him as an opponent, I don’t know how many times.
“I think he can play another 100, 200 games because it is his club and whenever I spent time with him it’s always really nice.
“The only thing about him that’s not so good is when he’s an opponent in front of you.
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“He told me before the game [he supports Blues] and he told me he wanted to win the game.”
Karanka was asked whether he’d like to sign Deeney for Blues and joked: “If he wants to come! I need to speak to the CEO to see if we can borrow him! One day – hopefully.”