Clough: Will's all right for Rams next season
WILL Hughes is in contention to fill the right-side role for Derby County next season following his impressive full debut.
Manager Nigel Clough said Hughes is an option for the position after watching the England Under-17 international produce an eye-catching performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Peterborough United.
The former Repton School pupil, who turned 17 only two weeks ago, is a first-year scholar at the Rams Academy although he recently signed his first professional contract.
He had made two brief appearances as a substitute for the first team before he was handed his start at the weekend.
His display delighted Clough.
"Will was very composed and accomplished," said Clough.
"He didn't look out of place and gave us good balance in midfield.
"He shows a touch and vision of somebody beyond his years.
"When he receives the ball he has a good idea of where it is going.
"I cannot remember him mis-controlling one.
"His first touch is lovely when you compare it with some of the senior players at this level, in other teams as well as ours.
"We think he can play. We rate him highly and he's someone who could have a part to play next season."
Paul Green had filled the position on the right side of midfield until the last two games of the season but the Republic or Ireland international will leave the club this summer after he rejected the offer of a new contract.
"Paul Green has done brilliantly in his four years here but we have to have someone to come in.
"Ideally, you would want one with a little more experience than Will.
"But if it is Will, it's Will.
"That is the way the conveyor belt should work at any football club. You should always have one waiting to come through and that is why we are so keen to get in a younger left-back."
Gareth Roberts has signed a new deal and the 34-year-old will be the first-choice left-back at the start of next season.