Barcelona linked with Derby County midfielder Will Hughes
NIGEL Clough has backed Will Hughes to keep his feet on the ground as Spanish giants Barcelona became the latest club to be linked with Derby County's young midfielder.
The 17-year-old has already been linked with a number of the top clubs in the Premier League including Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Now, one national newspaper reports that Barcelona are tracking Hughes after being alerted to his talents when he played for England Under-17s last season.
Speculation over his future is likely to escalate ahead of the January transfer but Derby are quick to stress they have had no contact from any club.
"And certainly not from Barcelona!" smiled Clough.
The Rams manager admits that the speculation surrounding Hughes is inevitable.
"Will being linked to the Premier League was always going to happen, we knew that," said Clough, who is confident Hughes will remain unfazed by all the attention.
"To do what he has done at 17 and a half just goes to show the potential that he has," added Clough.
"As well as Will is doing at the moment, it is still largely based on potential.
"He has still got a long way to go and he knows that.
"Will's a level-headed lad and he's kept everything in perspective, which is something we really like about him because it is vital he keeps focused on football. That is going to be the most important thing.
"We have said to him all along that if he stays grounded, does not get carried away and does things right for the next 18 months it will set him up for his career."
Hughes has become a first-team regular this season and he made his debut for England Under-21s against Northern Ireland last week.