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Keogh backs Hughes to shine

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

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DERBY County captain Richard Keogh believes Will Hughes will go far in the game after his call-up for the England under-21 side.

The Rams skipper, along with the rest of the club, is delighted with how well the 17-year-old has taken to life in the Championship.

Hughes scored his second goal for the club in the 2-1 defeat at Millwall on Saturday and, speaking afterwards, Keogh gave the teenager a glowing report.

“Will’s mature beyond his years,” said Keogh, who has himself enjoyed an excellent start to life at Pride Park.

“A lot of credit needs to go the manager for that.” Keogh believes Hughes could make the step up to play Premier League football at some point in his burgeoning career.

Rumours have already linked him with a move to both Manchester clubs, withbids of £1million said to have been tabled before the youngster even appeared for the first team.

After the start he has made this season, his asking price will surely have more than doubled.

"He could make the step up," said Keogh.

"He's showed everyone what a fantastic player he is.

"It shows to young players too that if you work hard at Derby you can do well.

“You just have to look at Will and Jeff (Hendrick).

"You know if you come in you can stay there.

"I think one day Will'll play in the Premier League.

"He's got a level head on his shoulders and fantastic ability.

"If you mix the two together you've got a fantastic opportunity to play at the highest level."

Keogh was impressed with Hughes' leveller at the Den on Saturday.

It looked like the Rams would go on and win the game at one point before a late goal for the hosts denied them even a point.

"It was great technique for his goal," said Keogh. "What's good is he wants to learn every day and he's a very humble lad.

"He always listens to what the manager and other players say — plus he's got great quality in and around the box."

Hughes admitted he was shocked when he first heard the news.

He said: “Being called up to the England Under-21s’ squad is a fantastic achievement on my part, which I am really looking forward to.

“One of the members of the Derby County media team phoned me up on Thursday morning shortly after one of my A-Level lessons.

“I didn’t believe him to begin with and it was a bit of a shock considering my previous cap was for the Under-17s.

“It is a great achievement and it will be a fantastic experience to play with the older players.

“When you look at the names in the squad; the likes of Jordan Henderson, Thomas Ince, Josh McEachran – they are the sort of players I have been watching on TV for the last two or three years.”

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