Liverpool targeted wonderkid is 'super player', says England coach

Will Hughes of Derby County

Gareth Southgate has called Derby County’s Will Hughes a ‘super player’ as he prepares to feature for the England Under-21’s.

19-year-old Hughes has progressed at a rapid rate since making his debut for the Rams in 2011.

A veteran of over 100 appearances, he played in last season’s Championship Play-Off Final, and has already won nine caps for the England-Under 21’s, having first appeared for his country in November 2012.

His rise to prominence coincided with interest from a host of top Premier League and European clubs, and it was reported that Liverpool had agreed a pre-contract with the touted wonderkid.

With James Ward-Prowse and Nathaniel Chalobah out of action through injury, Hughes will be set to start for Gareth Southgate’s men on Friday night, with an important European Championship’s qualifier play-off against Croatia be held in Wolverhampton.

And, although his young age presented Southgate with a number of doubts regarding his inclusion, the coach is confident that he has matured enough to play a key role for his nation.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, Southgate said: “Will is a classic example of a player who was moved up perhaps a little bit early.

“We didn’t really play him so much in September, October and November of last year but the decision had already been taken that he was with the under-21 group.

“At that time, Nigel [Clough, Derby manager] was in charge and was happy for him to be with us and train with us, even if it didn’t mean he was always going to start, because he was getting enough football with Derby.

“He was one who was almost playing too much, so to be with us and to train at our level was good but it wasn’t always a problem for Nigel if he didn’t play.

“He’s clearly maturing as he’s gone on. He’s played in a Championship play-off final, so he’s played in some big matches already with Derby.

“He’s a super player – technically very good."

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