Derby County Academy product Hughes is an attack-minded central midfielder who is regarded as a very exciting prospect.
Hughes is a graduate of Repton School and has gone from strength-to-strength since arriving from Nottingham Forest as a 12-year-old, which resulted in him signing professional terms in the spring of 2012.
Hughes has bags of ability and, as you would expect as a midfielder, he can see a pass and he can unlock opposition defences. His outstanding displays have earned plenty of plaudits and he has established himself as a key player at the iPro Stadium.
He committed his long-term future to the club in the summer of 2014, by signing a new long-term deal until 2018.
After impressing in Derby’s Under-18s as a first-year scholar in the early months of the 2011/12 season he was handed his first-team debut as a 16-year-old by coming off the bench in Derby’s 3-2 loss at Peterborough United in November 2011.
He was called up by England at Under-17 level in March 2012 and found the net in the Algarve Tournament against Holland, before returning to make an impact at first-team level before the season was out.
He made his first-ever start for the Club on the final day of the season in the home game against Peterborough, where he produced an eye-catching display on the right-hand side of midfield.
2012/13 saw Hughes rack up 38 appearances, scoring twice, and he also gained two caps for England’s Under-21 side.
His form attracted interest from afar but he remained focused on his performances for Derby, and he further blossomed in the 2013/14 season.
He made 48 appearances in total and scored five goals, including a fine back-heeled finish in the Play-Off Semi-Final win over Brighton & Hove Albion at the iPro Stadium, and was also named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season.
In 2014/15 his form was cranked up a notch and he appeared 48 times in all competitions, with his form going on to earn the Player of the Year, Jack Stamps Player of the Year and Supporters’ Club Player of the Year Awards.
Despite having a strong start to pre-season, Hughes endured a hugely frustrating beginning to the 2015/16 season as he suffered a serious knee injury on the opening fixture of the campaign against Bolton Wanderers.
He returned to first team action in April 2016 against, ironically, Bolton and played a starring role from there on, producing a string of Man of the Match displays along the way.