Shock for Derby County's Will Hughes as he lands top npower young player award
WILL Hughes describes winning the npower Football League Young Player of the Month Award for November as another memorable moment in a whirlwind year.
The 17-year-old midfielder says he is both proud and shocked to receive the award which covers the three divisions – Championship, League One and Two.
He has also thanked manager Nigel Clough and the coaching staff for showing faith in him and his team-mates for helping him to make the step up to the first team.
"I'm extremely proud to receive the award and a little bit shocked to be honest, especially when you look at the names that have won it in the past," said Hughes.
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"The last year or so has been something of a whirlwind for me. So much has happened in such a short space of time, and to get this award is another memorable moment."
Hughes has started all but one of Derby's 22 League games and he helped the Rams beat Blackpool, Barnsley and Birmingham City in November, and draw with leaders Cardiff City during November.
He also made his debut for England Under-21s and became the second youngest player to represent England at that level.
David Wetherall, head of youth development at the Football League, has been impressed by the youngster.
"Taking into account his age, Will is one of the most exceptionally gifted players in the Championship," he said.
Rams coach Andy Garner says this season has been a remarkable journey for Hughes.
"There is nobody happier for him than the staff and the players. He has been a revelation.
"Full credit to the gaffer. He put Will in thinking he is good enough. Obviously, there are going to be slight questions over a 17-year-old in the Championship and one who is only 6st, like Will, but he has not looked back.
"At the moment he looks a very, very good player."
Hughes continues to be linked with a number of big clubs in the Premier League and Derby are keen to keep hold of him for as long as possible.
Garner believes staying at the club rather than going elsewhere and sitting on the bench would benefit the player's development.
"There is no doubt about that," said Garner.
"Will is loving his football at the moment. He's 17 and playing regularly. He is surrounded by a lot of friends and his team mates and he is thriving on that.
"We want him to stay, that is for sure.
"He is a level-headed lad, an intelligent lad, and I don't think anything will faze him.
"All we want him to do is keep performing like he is week in, week out."