Watford defender Craig Cathcart has said he is "honoured" to have received the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ International Personality of the Year prize.

Although he found out he had won the accolade several weeks ago, he only recently managed to collect his physical award due to Euro 2020 qualification games against Estonia and Belarus occupying his time.

Speaking to the club website, Cathcart said it was nice to receive some praise after returning from a difficult spell recovering from injuries and going on to have what he described as one of his best seasons.

“It’s an honour to receive this award, especially as if you look at the [Northern Ireland] squad now," he said.

"We’ve got so many good players and we’ve done so well over the last few years – so to get a bit of recognition is really nice.

“Coming back from the knee injury was tough. I injured it at the end of the previous season [2016/17], came back fit and did it again in the first game back. It was disappointing, but once we knew what the problem was I got the surgery and then was in Dublin for six weeks doing rehab.

“I wanted to get back as quick as I could and I managed to get back and play the last seven games of the season. I got a good summer and pre-season under my belt which I think made a big difference. I managed to stay fit all year, played a lot of games and it’s gone really well.”

With Northern Ireland sitting top of their qualification group, there is great optimism that they can return to the competition finals next summer.

However, tough games against the likes of Germany and the Netherlands still remain for Cathcart and his international team-mates.

“If we’ve another successful season we won’t be far away from playing in the Euros," said the defender.

"We go into the games in September and October and they will be great nights at Windsor Park again.

“We know the games are going to be tougher against high-quality teams, but we have to take confidence from the results that we’ve had so far and the way we have been playing.

“We might have to adapt a few things tactically because we’re not going to see as much of the ball. We know they will be different games, but we’ve seen before that anything can happen at Windsor Park and we’re confident that we can get results at home and we’re tough to play against even away from home too.”