Watford boss Malky Mackay has sung the praises of teenage defender Lee Hodson.

The full-back was thrust into the Hornets first team at the start of the season after the sale of Mike Williamson and an injury to captain Jay DeMerit. Hodson was given a tough afternoon by Crystal Palace's Victor Moses during last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park, but Mackay has been delighted with his overall contribution.

"Young Lee has been exceptional since he stepped up into the first team," said Mackay.

"He's been immaculate as a professional footballer, he was a 17-year-old coming into the group who because of circumstances has probably pushed in quicker than he would have thought, but he's stood up to every game and he's been exceptional.

"He's another one learning - he's played 15 league games in his whole life. He's 18 now and he's in the Northern Ireland Under-21 squad so it's been a rapid learning curve and there are a lot of good times ahead for him."

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