Craig Cathcart has earned a surprise call-up to the Northern Ireland squad, despite not playing for Watford since August.

The centre-back’s sole appearance this term came against Brighton and lasted just 19 minutes after he came on in place of Nordin Amrabat in the wake of Miguel Britos’ red card.

Since the relapse of a knee injury suffered against the Seagulls, the 29-year-old has been in recovery and has only just begun to train with the Watford squad.

He had been due to join step up his training in January, but suffered a further set back.

His selection, therefore, comes as somewhat of a shock ahead of the international break which takes place at the end of this month.

Northern Ireland’s play just once during the break, meeting South Korea in a friendly on home soil on Saturday, March 24.