Watford defender Craig Cathcart admits Jermain Defoe has got better with age as he plots a way to nullify his threat after his exploits with England.
The 34-year-old has been in superb form this season for the Black Cats, netting 14 goals and earning an England recall after three-and-a-half years in the international wilderness.
Defoe capped a dream return to the England fold with the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley.
It is back to the day job this weekend when Sunderland travel to face Watford in a huge game for David Moyes' struggling side.
And Hornets defender Cathcart says Defoe won't have things all his own way when they the two sides meet at Vicarage Road.
"It’s always a big challenge when you come up against Jermain Defoe," said Cathcart.
"I’ve faced him a few times and he is a quality player.
"He is deadly in the box so you can’t afford to give him chances as he is such a good finisher.
"Watching him lately, he seems to have got better with age.
"He’s been in fine form this season but hopefully on Saturday when Sunderland come to our place we can stop his goals and stop his threat."
Cathcart has also been away on international duty, helping Northern Ireland beat Norway 2-0 to move a step closer to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Premier League football returns this weekend after the international break and Cathcart insists his Watford side are not safe until they hit the 40-point mark.
Sunderland are seven points adrift of safety heading into the final 10 games with Saturday's opponents Watford 14th, with 31 points.
Cathcart added: "I’m really looking forward to the game, especially on the back of Northern Ireland getting such a good result, as you always like testing yourself against quality strikers like Jermain Defoe.
"People will say it’s a crucial game for Sunderland, but it’s a big game for us as well.
"We are not safe until we reach that 40 point mark and we have big games coming up starting against Sunderland on Saturday.
"If we can come through that one with a positive result then hopefully we can kick on for the remainder of the season and get safe as quick as possible.
"We want to be beating the teams below us and on Saturday we are at home so we’ll be out to impose ourselves and get the three points.
"To do that we have to be well organised at the back and make sure we keep a close eye on Defoe and the rest of the Sunderland team."