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Scouting Will Hughes – Derby County’s Rising Star

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Will Hughes: Scout Report


Born in Surrey, Hughes moved to Derby at the age of two. Hughes was educated at Repton School in Derbyshire and played for the school football team, scoring the first goal in a 3-1 defeat to Brentwood in the Rensburg Sheppards ISFA Final. He then went on to play for local side Mickleover, before he later signed for Derby County as a first year scholar in the summer of 2011.

Being as young as eighteen doesn’t stop him getting his name in the starting eleven – he has made 38 appearances in all competitions so far this season alone for Derby County and even scoring on two goals and accumulating two assists.

For the many who have watched him, this won’t come as a surprise. He has so many strong attributes; an eye for a pass that can tear defences open, a capability to find space with ease and his tricky runs through the opposition’s armada to create space for himself and  his team mates.

In November 2012, Hughes picked up the Football League Young Player of the Month award for his performances against Blackpool, Barnsley, Cardiff and Milwall.

Hughes has represented both the England U17s and England U21s with seven appearances in total for both, scoring one goal. Stuart Pearce, the England U21s coach had this to say about Hughes:

”Will’s technically a very sound player and he played very well when he came on for his under- 21 debut at Blackpool a couple of weeks ago. He settled in well and was very comfortable on the ball at such a young age. He rarely gave the ball away in training or in the game, which is vitally important at international level.”

With a manager like Stuart Pearce giving such a young player like Hughes such high plaudits it’s not really a surprise that teams like Arsenal, Fulham and Liverpool have been linked with him in previous transfer windows.

Due to the reported interest in Hughes, Derby County have slapped a £4M price tag on Hughes, which is an extraordinary price for a teenage footballer.

Playing Style

To be a little impotent, here is how Sky Sport’s rate Will Hughes in various areas:


[Source: skysports.com]

The figure above suggests that Hughes is indeed a midfielder with an eye for goal as his stats for ability, shooting and heading are much higher than his passing and even more so his tackling. Hughes holds the ball well, he can weave in-and-out of players with ease using his very close control which many Derby fans enjoy to watch as he teases the defence.


Hughes tends to occupy the position above, although he has played on the opposite side, but always around the same height. From this position, Hughes tends to run into the goalkeeper’s area and this is where he causes most havoc.


The pale blue line represents a typical run from Hughes. The area he finds himself in, which is usually just shy of the six-yard box is where he has clocked up the majority of his goals and assists for Derby. For a lad of just 18 years of age, in terms of vision he plays as if he has had 10 years of experience, some of the passes he pulls of may not have the range of players like Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard but his know-how of timing when chipping a ball over the opposition’s defence or sliding a ball through a gap in the defence is exquisite.

This is just a small look at Will Hughes, aimed to inform you and showcase a little of his talents but don’t just take my word for it. You can either watch him playing his trade next season (likely to be at Derby County) or you can just remember his name because I have no doubt you’ll see him playing in the Premier League very soon.

But, for starters: check out this video on YouTube that exemplifies Hughes’ tributes:


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