Watford's Cathcart relishing prospect of playing the underdog once again

Northern Ireland News Conference - EURO 2016

Cathcart was part of Watford's successful Premier League survival bid last season, and he is keen to silence the critics once again.

Northern Ireland News Conference - EURO 2016Northern Ireland News Conference - EURO 2016

Craig Cathcart says he looking forward to playing the role of the underdog with Northern Ireland at Euro 2016, the Belfast Telegraph has reported.

French legend Alain Giresse was quoted by the newspaper as saying that it would be a "surprise" if Michael O'Neill's side were to make it past the group stages of the tournament, labelling them as being "far too limited" to progress.

But Cathcart insists his team are unfazed by Giresse's comments, having been a part of unfancied Watford's successful Premier League survival bid last season.

And he insists that the chance to silence the critics again with Northern Ireland, who are appearing at their first major competition since 1986, will provide a strong added incentive.

He said: "I have been an underdog before with both Northern Ireland and the same at Watford in the Premier League when people wrote us off.

"When you hear things like that it does spur you on to prove those people wrong and I'm sure that's what we'll do."

Watford's Craig Cathcart poses for a photo at the end of the match Craig Cathcart was part of the Watford side that secured Premier League survival

Northern Ireland begin their campaign against Poland on Sunday, and the 27-year-old admits the prospect of keeping striker Robert Lewandowski quiet will be a significant test of his team's abilities.

The Bayern Munich ace found the net 48 times in 55 outings for club and country last season, equalling the record for the most goals in a European Championship qualification campaign, held by Northern Ireland's own David Healy.

When asked about Lewandowski's possible weaknesses, Cathcart said: "There were one or two. He switches off at times defensively but in and around the box you have to be very careful with him. If you give him an inch he will score a goal."

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