Mariappa aims to scale the Royal heights
Published 27 Jul 2012 14:30 0 Comments
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Spring in his step: Reading centre-back Adrian Mariappa.
ADRIAN Mariappa insists his excellent spring more than makes up for his lack of height.
The 25-year-old defender joined Royals in a near £3 million deal from Watford last week.
He is now set to become one of the shortest centre-halves in the Premier League at 5ft 10in tall.
That is a full six inches shorter than Reading team-mate Kaspars Gorkss, while Arsenal's Per Mertesacker stands 6ft 6ins and Fulham ace Brede Hangeland is touching 6ft 7ins.
But Mariappa does not see his height as a disadvantage because of the superb leap he gained while playing basketball as a youngsters.
Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, he said: "Like most people I tried every kind of sport as a kid.
"I was really into judo before I even started playing football. Then as a teenager I was quite into basketball which is where I think I got my leap from.
"I also did athletics and I think the combination of all those sports helped me in my football career.
"But if I had to say one in particular it was basketball. I can really get some good height when I jump, and I can use to good effect."
Mariappa, who signed a three-year deal, has been a regular in the Watford team for the past five years and spent most of that time at centre-back.
He was named the Player of the Year last season and was the subject of a failed £2 million bid from Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew in January.
"When clubs put bids in for you it is always very flattering," added Mariappa. "It shows I must have been doing something right.
"But I continued to keep my head down and focus on my football. Thankfully, that has taken me to where I am today."
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 27 Jul 12