Sean Murray believes Tommie Hoban's inclusion on the bench at Manchester City was a reward for all of the defender's hard work during his comeback from a long-term injury.
Hoban damaged his Achilles in January last year and although he returned for one game in February, he missed the rest of the season with the problem.
The Watford Academy graduate visited specialists across the world and it was decided he would have surgery in the USA in late April.
Hoban became an integral part of the Hornets’ defence last season despite being just 19 years old; making 18 consecutive starts between late September and New Year’s Day.
Murray was also an Under-18s team-mate of Hoban's and welcomed the former Arsenal youth player's return to the 18-man squad on Saturday.
Murray said: "Tommie has been working so hard. It is nearly a year that he has been out and for him this was a reward for all of his hard work. He has been in the gym every day and it is great to see him back training full time with us.
"He showed what a good player he is before the injury and how he can help us, so him coming so close to full fitness can only be great for the team."
Yesterday head coach Beppe Sannino added: "For Tommie, I am very happy because after a long and complicated injury, to have him sitting on the bench was very important. He can feel he is very close.
"He is still not ready to start though and he needs time.
"Unfortunately his game was called off again today (Tuesday)."