Craig Cathcart has been named in Northern Ireland’s squad for upcoming friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica.

The Watford defender finished the season in a strong vein of form to provide a positive conclusion to an injury-plagued campaign.

He played the final six games of a season which started in difficult circumstances after picking up a knee injury against Brighton in August.

That injury, coupled with a thigh problem suffered when nearing a return, saw him ruled out until March.

The 29-year-old finally made his comeback in March when he represented his country against South Korea in a friendly.

Northern Ireland face Panama on Wednesday, May 30 ahead of what will be a historic summer for their opponents.

Panama are competing in their first ever World Cup where they take on England, Belgium and Tunisia in the group stage in Russia.

Michael O’Neill’s side follow the meeting with Panama by taking on Costa Rica on Sunday, April 3.