Hughes has been named as the Derby Supporters Club Player of the Year, after another impressive and mature season with the Rams despite being just 20-years-old.
“When I broke into the team at 17, I never dreamed I would be pretty much a regular from that stage. I thought I would play a few games and see how things went,” he said.
“I feel I have been a bit more consistent this season. I feel I am improving with each season but I am aware that I still have a lot to learn.”
Hughes has shown remarkable maturity across Derby’s midfield, bearing in mind the pressure levelled at the club to get into the Premier League.
He’s popular because he’s shown loyalty when other players may have listened to the advice of the wrong people, pushing for a move away from the club.
The challenge for Steve McClaren and the player looking ahead to next year is the same; finding a way to keep him effective and a way to work on that consistency.
He has all of the attributes needed to be a popular player for a long time at Derby because he has that willingness to work hard and to challenge himself whenever he starts to feel too comfortable.
It would be fitting if he can play in the Premier League with the Rams and there is still a chance they could achieve that goal through the play-offs.