Few players can boast a record of more than 150 league starts at the tender age of 22.

Those, however, are exactly the figures which back up Will Hughes, who arrived at Vicarage Road last summer with 165 at Derby County.

Now in his debut season in the Premier League, the versatile midfielder says the experience he brought with him to Watford has stood him in good stead.

“When you are young it is good to get as many games as you can and I did that in the right way,” Hughes told the Watford Observer.

“Getting 150 games plus in the Championship meant I came here with experience, but the Premier League is a different kettle of fish. Hopefully I can replicate those numbers here in the next few years.

“I enjoyed every minute of the Championship. Nowadays young players don’t get as much game time as they should, so I think it is the right path to go down.”

Watford’s signing of Hughes for an initial £4.5 million pounds was seen as a major coup for the Hornets as they secured the services of a highly coveted player.

Links with the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur had followed the 22-time capped England Under-21, and a move to the top flight had long been an inevitability before he joined Watford.

A move to one of the Premier League’s top sides may have been appealing, but doing so could easily have stunted Hughes’ development as he would have faced a challenge to secure regular first team football.

Hughes believes it is impossible to say how joining a top tier side would have impacted on him, but believes the time was right to step up.

“It is hard to say [how an earlier move would have gone]. If I had joined a team at 18, 19 or 20, we will never know what would have happened,” he said.

“But I think I did it the right way, played enough games and enjoyed it. The time came when I had to make the step up and it was the right time to do it.”

Hughes’ season is one which has been interrupted by injury and he has only just made his return to the starting XI.

He has enjoyed being back in the mix and feels back to his best.

“I am feeling good and starting again feels really good,” he said. “I have worked hard to come back and hopefully I can reap the rewards and get some playing time.”