England U21 call a timely tonic for Rams star Will Hughes
DERBY County midfielder Will Hughes is set to receive a timely tonic.
The 17-year-old, who has been below-par in the Rams’ last two matches, is expected to be named in the England Under-21 squad tomorrow for the friendly against Sweden at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium on February 5.
Hughes made his Under-21 debut when he played 24 minutes as a substitute in the victory over Northern Ireland at Blackpool in November.
His appearance saw him become the second-youngest player to represent England at under-21 level after Theo Walcott.
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Now he is in line to win a second cap.
Derby manager Nigel Clough says another call-up for Hughes would be a lift for the youngster, who was out-of-sorts against Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers.
“When he played for England Under-21s last time, it gave him a little lift and we are hoping another call-up will do the same,” said Clough.
“He did very well when he played for them last time and playing with better players again you will see him come on even more.
“We think it will help him, give him a lift, a tonic.
“Will has done incredibly well this season. He has done so well, we almost forget he is 17. We talk about him as though he is an established player.”
Hughes is set to keep his place in Derby’s team for the Championship clash against Huddersfield Town at Pride Park on Saturday.
Clough says the youngster does not need a breather.
“Will has had two slightly below-par games, that’s it at the moment,” said Clough.
“As far as we are concerned, it doesn’t affect anything.
“He will keep playing until we think it is right to take him out and give him a breather but I don’t think it is yet.
“The only time we take players out of the team is if it will benefit them and the team as well.
“We are not at that point with Will and I think there is a fair chance we will not reach that point.”
TICKET NEWS: Tickets for England Under-21s game against Sweden are priced £10 for adults and £5 concessions (under-16s and over-65s). Tickets can be purchased by calling 01922 651416 or online at www.saddlers.co.uk.