Millwall boss Gary Rowett has claimed Will Hughes was instrumental in helping Watford gain Premier League promotion last season.
Rowett managed the Crystal Palace midfielder in 2017 when both were still at Derby County.
Ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup Third Round tie between Millwall and Crystal Palace, Rowett spoke about the midfielder’s potential.
“I remember that summer that Will had been at Derby quite a while and was young and ambitious,” said Rowett, via London News Online.
“He was a young, ambitious player who wanted to play in the Premier League.
“The club sold him to Watford. I think he was keen to go and play in the Premier League and at that time we needed some funds to move forward with Derby. It was one of those mutual things that helped all parties.”
Hughes has struggled for minutes since signing for Patrick Vieira’s side in the Summer, only making his debut for the club in November.
However, Rowett has encouraged the player by praising his performances for Watford last season.
“I thought he was the difference for Watford in the Championship, when they went up last season,” he added.
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Crystal Palace are 11th in the Premier League heading into this weekend’s London Derby.
Millwall are 11th in the Championship, having lost their most recent fixture 3-2 away to Bristol City.
Rowett’s men are seven points away from the playoff places and have two games in hand on sixth place Huddersfield Town.
Following Saturday’s cup tie, the Lions next face the visit of Nottingham Forest on January 15.
Hughes has had a difficult season with Palace so far, unable to break through for consistent minutes in the team.
Rowett didn’t spend too much time working with the midfielder when both were with Derby, as Hughes left a few months into his tenure. However, he must have seen an exciting prospect then, to bring him up again now.
Hughes is still quite young and has plenty of time left in his career, and Rowett’s words of encouragement should give him all the motivation he needs to keep pushing for a place at Palace.