A technically gifted, left footed English central midfielder. This is certainly a rareity, and yet Derby County's young midfielder possesses all these attributes, and it's no surprise Liverpool have been linked with him over the past couple of months, his manager Steve McLaren saying he's got as much quality as the best of England's young talents plying their trade in the top fight.
And there's much truth in this. Will Hughes - valued at £15 million - is a technically gifted central midfielder, with the technical ability to manipulate the ball in tight, congested midfields, work space for himself and pick the right pass. These traits are invaluable for a central midfielder, particularly in the modern, fast paced game where there is rarely time to linger on the ball in midfield.
His passing ability is probably his best attribute, him having an excellent pass completion ratio this year, with him still attempting the second most passes per game of any Derby midfielder, as well as pitching in with a few assists, though I'm sure he will hope to better his current tally in future seasons.
He's also made the third most "key passes" this season statistically, proving that though his assist tally isn't what he would have hoped, he still contributes much to games with his passing, helping teammates into positions where they are able to provide a final ball.
While his goal return this season has been less than i'm sure he would have hoped, he has still contributed, and has proven he can finish. As he develops with experience, he will learn to position himself and time his movement in and around the opposition box and add more goals to his game.
Furthermore, he's a willing and able tackler, having made the third most in the Derby squad this season, showing his tenacity and willingness to get stuck in, invaluable attributes for a midfielder with the skill to also pick a pass and retain possession in tight spaces.
And what's even more impressive is that he's only just turned 20, and has already been playing first-team football for two seasons now.
I believe he is ready to make the step up to the Premier League. Perhaps that will be with Derby next season. Though automatic promotion is beyond them, the play-offs are still a possibility if they can avoid a repeat of the heartbreak of last year.
Hughes ready for Premier League
This would be a great option for his development, allowing him to continue playing in a team he feels comfortable in, while also being able to grow as a footballer by facing top quality opposition each week.
But if Derby fail in this, I believe it may be time for him to make the step up regardless. At his age, he needs to be playing against the very best to continue his development, while also continuing to play regular football.
For Derby's sake, I hope they are able to go up this year and retain their young talent, but it may be essential for Will Hughes' development and England prospects for him to continue his development elsewhere, at a Premier League team.
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