Hughes in 2011
|Full name||William James Hughes|
|Date of birth||17 April 1995|
|Place of birth||Weybridge, England|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:16, 22 April 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in Weybridge, Surrey, Hughes moved to Derby at the age of two. Hughes was first educated at St Peter's Junior school and then Repton School for secondary school in Derbyshire and played for the school football team, scoring the first goal in a 3–1 defeat to Brentwood in the Rensburg Sheppards ISFA Final. He then went on to play for local side Mickleover Jubilee, before he later signed for Derby County as a first year scholar in the summer of 2011.
Hughes made his debut for the club's reserve team as a 70th minute substitute in a 6–1 Central League win over Walsall and made two additional appearances in the Central League Cup. It was his "outstanding" performance in a 1–0 win over Port Vale reserves in the competition which brought him to Clough's attention for possible inclusion in the Rams first team squad against Peterborough United four days later.
Hughes made his full debut for Derby as a 90th-minute substitute for Jamie Ward. Despite entering the game late with the scores level, there was still time for Hughes first team debut to end in defeat as a 94th-minute goal saw Peterborough win 3–2. In February 2012, he reportedly attracted attention from Manchester City and Manchester United due to his potential to be a world class player.
After Paul Green rejected a contract offer, Clough promoted Hughes to the first team squad for the penultimate game of the 2011–12 season at Portsmouth as his replacement. Hughes started the game on the substitutes bench and came on at the 68th minute, replacing Theo Robinson in a 2–1 win. Hughes started his first game for the first team in the final game of the season, a 1–1 draw against Peterborough United. The performance of Hughes in the match earned praise from Rams manager Nigel Clough. At Derby's awards night, Hughes won the Scholar of the Year Award.
After impressing in pre-season, Nigel Clough said that Hughes could be in line for a place in the starting line-up in the first game of the season against Scunthorpe United in the League Cup. Clough was particularly impressed with his substitute appearance against Colchester United saying, "When he came off the bench at Colchester, he was very good indeed. I thought he was the star of the subs. He looked comfortable. I don't think he gave the ball away and he made our equaliser. We are very pleased with him."
Hughes scored his first goal for the club in a 5–1 win against Watford on 1 September 2012. Hughes signed a new contract in October 2012, committing his future at the club until summer 2015. Hughes scored his second goal for the club in a 2–1 defeat at Millwall on 10 November, scoring an equalising goal from 20 yards. In November 2012, Hughes was linked with moves to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. Nigel Clough denied the rumours, however he said the interest in the player was inevitable and said many scouts have been at Derby matches to watch Hughes. Spanish giants FC Barcelona were also reported to have had an interest in Hughes, after scouts from the Catalan club "compiled a detailed dossier" on Hughes when he appeared for England U17 in the Algarve Tournament in February 2012.
Hughes was named the Football League Young Player of the Month for November 2012, after a series of impressive performances. On the eve of the 2013 January transfer window, it was reported in the Derby Telegraph that Hughes was being closely observed by 10 Premier League clubs with Fulham's manager Martin Jol saying of Hughes, "Believe me, there are probably 10 clubs in the Premier League having a look at him. He is one of these wonderful talents, so he is always on lists. If you have a good scouting system, he will always be on the list but we will see."
In February 2013, during a 0–0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hughes picked up a groin injury and was replaced after 63 minutes. As a result of this injury Hughes ended his ever present run of Derby first team appearances after 35 games and ended a run of 37 consecutive appearances. With twelve games remaining in the season and with Derby unlikely to fight for a play-off place and with Hughes being ruled out for the first two games in March; Clough said he considered resting Hughes for the rest of season to reduce stress on his body.
In April 2013, Hughes signed a one-year extension to his contract after his 18th birthday, extending his stay until June 2016. Hughes returned to first team action before schedule on 20 April as an 85th minute substitute in Derby's 3–1 against Peterborough United. At the end of the season, Hughes won the Sammy Crooks Young Player of the Year award.
Ahead of the 2013–14 season, Hughes was expected to compete with Craig Bryson, Paul Coutts and Jeff Hendrick, with then manager Nigel Clough stating that rotation could be utilised. Hughes scored his first goal of the season on 27 August in a 5–0 win against League One side Brentford in the League Cup. He scored his first league goal of the season in a 3–1 defeat at home to Reading on 21 September. This was Hughes' last goal under Nigel Clough, who was sacked a week later following a 1–0 defeat at the hands of rivals Nottingham Forest in the East Midlands derby. Clough was replaced by former England manager Steve McClaren, and Hughes scored in his first game in charge of Derby; a 3–1 win against Leeds United.
On 17 January 2012, Hughes was called up to the England U17 for the first time for the Algarve Tournament in February 2012, he was joined by his teammate Mason Bennett. Hughes appeared in all 3 games, as England won the 3 game tournament with 7 points. Hughes scored a goal in the 2–2 draw against Netherlands U17 on 4 February 2012. Hughes was also called up the 2012 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship elite round in March 2012, however England failed to qualify for the main tournament, finishing 3rd in their group on 4 points, with their exit confirmed in a 4–0 loss to Spain U17. In August 2012, Hughes was named as standby for the England U19 squad for a friendly against Germany U19 in September. On 19 November 2013, Hughes scored his first goal for England U21 against San Marino U21.
In November 2012, Hughes made his first appearance for the England U21 squad in a friendly against Northern Ireland U21 on 13 November. Hughes came on as a 65th-minute substitute for Josh McEachran, becoming the second youngest player to get capped for the U21s, only beaten by Theo Walcott. Derby youth academy director Darren Wassall praised Hughes after his call-up to the England U21 side, saying "It's a great achievement to get in at 17 and we are all delighted for him. To make that rise into the Under-21s so soon is fantastic for him and everyone at the club." Hughes called the experience "surreal".
Style of play
Hughes has been described as a "flair player" who uses through balls and mazy runs to create space for teammates and beat opposition defences in attacking positions. An example of Hughes's use of these techniques was the role he played in the opening goal scored by Conor Sammon in Derby's 3–1 win against Leeds United, where he set up Sammon with a perfectly weighted disguised threaded pass which Sammon profited from. He also helps Derby out with defensive duties, such as when he cleared a Leeds shot off the goal line in the same match.
Hughes said in a December 2012 interview for the BBC, that he bases his play on Barcelona and Spanish international central midfielders Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. Hughes states his strengths are his passing and technical ability and targeted improvements in pace and physical strength.
Hughes' former England U21 coach Stuart Pearce described Hughes as "technically a very sound player". "He rarely gave the ball away in training or in the game he played [against Northern Ireland], which is vitally important at international level. He's progressing really well."
- As of match played 18 April 2015.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
- Appearances in Championship play-offs
- Football League Young Player of the Month – November 2012
- Derby County Scholar of the Year 2011–12
- Sammy Crooks Derby County Young Player of the Year: 2012–13; 2013–14
- Jackie Stamps Derby County Player of the Year: 2014–15
- Football League Young Player of the year – 2014
- "Professional retain list & free transfers 2012/13" (PDF). The Football League. 18 May 2013. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2014.
- Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack, eds. (2012). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2012–2013 (43rd ed.). London: Headline Publishing Group. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-7553-6356-8.
- "Hughes to step up from the Rams Academy". thisisderbyshire. 5 November 2011.
- "Derby's Will Hughes – the Championship's latest sensation". BBC Sport. 21 December 2012.
- "Repton denied in decider". thisisderbyshire. 10 March 2010.
- "Derby County Res 6–1 Walsall Res". Derby County F.C. 22 September 2011.
- "Derby County Res 1–0 Port Vale Res". Derby County F.C. 1 November 2011.
- "Peterborough United 3 – 2 Derby County". Derby County F.C. 5 November 2011.
- "Manchester duo City and United lock horns over Derby's teen star Hughes". Daily Mail. 18 February 2012.
- "Clough to cast net after Green turns down offer". thisisderbyshire. 20 April 2012.
- "Portsmouth 1–2 Derby County". Derby County F.C. 21 April 2012.
- "Derby County 1–1 Peterborough United". Derby County F.C. 28 April 2012.
- "Clough Impressed By Hughes Display". Derby County F.C. 30 April 2012.
- "Bryson Named Club Player of the Year". Derby County F.C. 2 May 2012.
- "'Will Hughes is in frame for Derby County starting line-up'". thisisderbyshire. 8 August 2012.
- "Derby 5–1 Watford". BBC Sport. 1 September 2012.
- "Hughes Pens New Rams Deal". Derby County F.C. 20 October 2012.
- "Millwall 1–2 Derby". BBC Sport. 10 November 2012.
- "No bids for promising Ram". Yahoo! Eurosport. 14 November 2012.
- "Will Hughes: Derby manager says interest inevitable". BBC Sport. 14 November 2012.
- "Ram raid: Barcelona join City and Arsenal in chase for Derby teenager Will Hughes". Mirror Football. 17 November 2012.
- "Hughes named Younge Player of the Month". The Football. 21 December 2012.
- "Fulham boss Martin Jol one of 10 with eyes on Will Hughes". thisisderbyshire. 27 December 2012.
- "Midfielder Will Hughes ruled out of Derby County's tough double header". thisisderbyshire. 27 February 2013.
- "Clough: I Will give Hughes a rest". The Sun. 28 February 2013.
- "Hughes Extends Derby Contract". Derby County F.C. 18 April 2013.
- "Derby 3–1 Peterborough". BBC Sport. 20 April 2013.
- "Keogh Named Club Player of the Year". dcfc.co.uk. 2 May 2013.
- "Nigel Clough still pondering midfield dilemma for Derby County". Derby Telegrpah. 23 July 2013.
- "Derby 5–0 Brentford" BBC Sport. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- "Derby 1–3 Reading" BBC Sport. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- "Nigel Clough: Derby County sack manager after defeat at Forest" BBC Sport. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- "Nott'm Forest 1–0 Derby" BBC Sport. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- "Steve McClaren named as Derby County head coach"Steve McClaren named as Derby County head coach" BBC Sport. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- "Derby County 3–1 Leeds" BBC Sport. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
- "Will Hughes Signs A New Long-Term Contract At Derby County". Derby County F.C. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "Bennett & Hughes Get England Call-Ups". Derby County F.C. 17 January 2012.
- "Bennett & Hughes Start in England U17 Win". dcfc.co.uk. 18 January 2012.
- "Hughes & Bennett Feature in England Defeat". dcfc.co.uk. 13 April 2012.
- "Hughes on England Standby". dcfc.co.uk. 25 August 2012.
- "England U-21 ring changes for Northern Ireland friendly". BBC Sport. 8 November 2012.
- "Hughes Gains England Under 21 Honours". dcfc.co.uk. 13 November 2012.
- "Derby's Will Hughes can "come alive" for England Under-21s". BBC Sport. 13 November 2012.
- "Will Hughes: England call surreal says Derby teenager". BBC Sport. 15 November 2012.
- "Games played by Will Hughes in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Games played by Will Hughes in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Games played by Will Hughes in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Games played by Will Hughes in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
Football League Young Player of the year 2014 The Football League site 16 March 2014