The next instalment in our series of players to watch should come as no surprise to many. Last year’s young player of the year, Will Hughes simply had to be included in this list.
Last year the star midfielder made 48 appearances, scoring five times. If playing 48 games in a single season isn’t impressing anyone then the fact that Hughes is just 19 years of age should definitely turn some heads.
Understandably after what has been a remarkable breakout season, Transfer speculation constantly surrounds Hughes but he has now signed a new four-year contract until 2018, pledging his allegiance to the Rams hopes to play a massive role in the clubs continuing push for promotion after coming so close last year.
But what is it that makes this youngster so special? To find out all you have to do is take a look at his passing statistics from last season. With an average of 40.6 a game and 86% of them being successful, Hughes is incredibly accurate and consistent. Making him a constant threat and a fantastic asset to have on the pitch.
It was back in 2012 however that Hughes started attracting attention form huge clubs, and they don’t get much bigger than Barcelona. In Derby’s 3-1 victory over Leeds, Hughes picked up man of the match and was just 17 at the time. A 17 year old playing like someone who had been playing top flight football for years. In amongst the flashy football and attacking flair, what really caught the eye was an emphatic sprint back towards his own goal that led to a risky sliding tackle. A tackle that arguably prevented a Leeds goal. Also in that same year, Will became the second-youngest England Under-21 international when he came on as a substitute late on against Northern Ireland in November.
His market value has rocketed up by £4M in the past year and is set to keep rising if the youngster can keep up this sort of progress. He’s not just a kid being given a chance, Hughes is taking control of the midfield and has become a crucial part in Derby’s gameplan.
-not afraid to help out the defence
FLW rating- 8.8/10
Easily one of the best young midfielders in the country and one of the best overall in the league, Will Hughes looks to add to his impressive footballing CV by driving Derby to promotion. He has won over the fans by signing a four year deal with the rams and now looks to improve his game as much as he can as he aims to win yet another player of the year award. Who knows, it may be the overall player of the year instead of young player of the year this time too!