Nathaniel Chalobah was at a loss to explain why referee Simon Hooper failed to award him a penalty during Watford’s 1-1 draw with Southampton.

The midfielder, who was making his first Premier League start of the season at St Mary’s, was brought down by Ryan Betrand as he went through on goal.

It was as clear a penalty as you are likely to see, and Chalobah made his feelings on Hooper’s refusal to point to the spot clear in the wake of the draw.

“I think it was the turning point of the game and in that position there is no way I am going down for no reason,” Chalobah told the club website.

“I am not that type of player and there is blatant contact so it was bizarre that the referee didn’t give it.”

While the result may not have gone the way Chalobah would have wanted, just starting a game in the top flight represented a big step for the former Chelsea man.

A fractured kneecap ensured the 23-year-old hadn’t been in a starting XI in the league for more than a year.

It may well be that Chalobah is back on a watching assignment when Watford face Liverpool after the international break due to the return of the suspended Etienne Capoue.

He understands that the form of the Frenchman and his compatriot Abdoulaye Doucoure makes getting into the first XI tough, but is nonetheless pleased to be back in the first-team shake up.

“I have been working hard towards this and I had my chance today. I would have liked a win but I am just happy to be back out there in a Watford shirt,” he said.

“It is time for me to stake a claim. You have to give credit to the boys who have been playing because they have been doing very well.

“For me it is about staying patient and working hard. We have got healthy competition in there at the moment and we will just keep working towards doing the best job we can.”

Chalobah will now continue to put in work on the training ground as the international sides take centre stage for the next fortnight.

The time away from competitive action, Chalobah believes, will work in Watford’s favour and he is hopeful of returning with a positive result.

He said: “A few of the lads are off on international duty but we will stay behind, keep grafting and keep putting in the work.

“Hopefully we will come back next week with a better mentality and will attack the next game.”