Will Hughes says recovering from the hamstring injury which ruled him out for three months of the season was a mentally strenuous task.

The 22-year-old had just begun to find his feet at Vicarage Road when he suffered the setback in November’s 4-2 loss to Manchester United.

For Hughes, the timing of the injury was far from ideal and he says months spent away from the everyday routine of first team training is testing.

“People on the outside who don’t see you every day don’t really understand the mental side of the injury,” Hughes said.

“It is mentally very draining having that period of time out. You have to get your head around that and when you come back you can’t take it for granted.”

Hughes, who joined Watford for an initial £4.5 million last summer, says previous experience of a prolonged spell on the sidelines helped him cope with being away from first team action.

The 22-time capped England Under-21 international injured his anterior cruciate ligament while at Derby in 2015 and says that injury helped him cope better this time around.

“I have only had one long-term injury and that was my knee and few years ago which was very difficult to deal with,” he said.

“Being in that position before means I know how to deal with it mentally and that was the toughest thing. I worked hard on it and fingers crossed that is the last of it.”

With Hughes now firmly back in the Watford starting XI and providing three assists in his five outings since returning, he is eager to make up for lost time.

He acknowledges that the injury lay-off was far from ideal in his development in a Watford shirt, but wastes little energy worrying about factors which are out of his control.

“That is football and you have your ups and downs. I hadn’t played for most of the season then came in enjoyed it and did so well,” he said.

“The next thing you know you are out for a couple of months so you have to take that. I have worked hard and hopefully can reap the rewards by getting some playing time.”