Javi Gracia would love to see in-form playmaker Will Hughes force his way into Gareth Southgate's World Cup reckoning with England.

Hughes bossed Watford's first-half showing as the Hornets saw off Newcastle 2-1 at Vicarage Road yesterday.

The 23-year-old, uncapped at senior level with England, angled a fine ball to bisect the Magpies for Roberto Pereyra's goal, and upstaged Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, another midfielder being touted for national team honours.

Watford's fans chanted "Hughesy for England" at the final whistle, leaving boss Gracia hailing the former Derby star's current form.

"I would definitely like Will to have that opportunity and recognition, I would like all my players to have that in fact," said Gracia.

"But of course it depends on the national teams' coaches.

"I would like to respect their choices of course, but he's definitely been in good form, yes."

Watford ended a run of seven Premier League matches without a win on Saturday, with Pereyra laying on Andre Gray's goal as well as notching his third strike in five games.

Gracia admitted relief at a win that eased a level of pressure around Vicarage Road.

"I'm happy with all the players, with their behaviour," said Gracia.

"It was a very tough game against such a good team as Newcastle.

"In other games they weren't able to keep the result in the last minutes, so to be able to do that here, that was important."

Newcastle paid the price for a sluggish start, and had Troy Deeney converted his first-half penalty, the visitors would have been dead and buried.

Ayoze Perez's fine finish halved the deficit after the break however, leaving the 24-year-old later lamenting that costly slow opening.

"We cannot perform as we did in the first half," Perez told Newcastle's official club website.

"What we showed in the first half was that we were on holiday already.

"We were not pushing as we should or pressing as we should.

"In the second half, we got the early goal which gave us some confidence.

"We kept pushing but at the end we couldn't pick up any points."