(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
Highly-rated Derby midfielder Will Hughes has handed the Rams a huge boost in their push for promotion after signing a new three-and-a-half year contract that will keep him at the club until 2020.
Hughes, 21, made his Derby debut in 2011 as a fresh faced 16-year-old against Peterborough, and has since gone on to make over 170 appearances for the first-team, scoring 11 goals in the process, and becoming one of the first names on the team sheet.
After bouncing back from a knee injury that kept him out for a long spell last season, Hughes has re-established himself under Steve McClaren, who arguably got the best out of the playmaker during his previous spell in charge of the Rams.
Speaking to Derby’s official club website, McClaren was clearly delighted with the news Hughes has extended his stay at the iPro, saying: “We’re all thrilled that Will Hughes has signed his new deal and committed his future to Derby County until at least 2020.
“Will is an exciting young talent and a really important player for this football club.
“I’m excited about seeing him continue to develop, improve and play a key role here at Derby County moving forwards.”
Under McClaren, Derby and Hughes have enjoyed recent success, and it was Hughes’ form that played a considerable part in the Rams reaching the 2013/2014 Play-Off final.
The young-midfielder was also named in the Championship team of the season after that campaign – when the Rams fell just short at Wembley – and if Hughes can replicate that form this season, it could well be the difference for Derby, who are just two points outside the top-six.
After joining the club as an 11-year-old, it would be surely be a dream for Hughes to play a vital role in a successful Derby promotion campaign – a dream that would surprise few if it became a reality.