Midfielder pens new contract with Derby until 2015.

Midfielder pens new contract with Derby until 2015.

Midfielder Will Hughes has committed his future to Derby County after signing a new contract with the Club.

17-year-old Hughes, who is a graduate of Derby’s Academy and signed professional terms earlier this year, is now tied to the Rams until the summer of 2015.

Having made his first-team debut last November, Hughes made a handful of outings towards the back-end of last season – and the England youth international has stepped up to become a regular face in Nigel Clough’s starting XI this time around.

Hughes has made 11 appearances so far this season, and he scored his first-ever professional goal in Derby’s 5-1 home win over Watford at the beginning of September.

Clough has expressed his delight at Hughes’s rise to the first-team squad and has encouraged the youngster to continue to work hard, in order to improve his game.

He said: “We want to keep our best young players at the Club and Will certainly falls into that category.

“We have to remember that he has made only 10 starts this season and his career is in its infancy, but he has shown great potential and it is important he continues to work hard and build on it.

“This news sends out a great message throughout the Club and once again it highlights the pathway we have from the Academy through to the first-team squad, and also the faith we have in young talent here within our system.”

Hughes admits making the step-up from the Academy to being a first-team regular is a dream come true.

He joined Derby’s Academy in 2006 at the age of 11 and he has revealed his excitement at extending his time at Pride Park.

He said: “I am loving every minute in the first-team and it has been an amazing last few months.

“First and foremost, I love playing football and I’ve been given a great opportunity here by the manager and his staff.

“I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I’m fully committed to getting my head down, working hard and continuing to improve my game.

“It may be a little bit of a cliché, but it really is a dream come true for me and I’m grateful for being given this chance.”

Academy Manager Darren Wassall, who is just one of the Academy coaches to have overseen Hughes’s development in recent years, is delighted that he has followed in the footsteps of recent Academy graduates

Mark O’Brien and Jeff Hendrick in securing their long-term future with Derby.

He said: “Seeing Will commit his future to the Club is terrific news for everyone, and from the Academy’s point of view it certainly should serve as a piece of inspiration to the players within the set-up.

“Our aim in the Academy is to produce players fit for the first-team here at Derby County and everyone takes great pride in seeing Will running out at Pride Park on a Saturday afternoon.”

The news comes as a double boost for Hughes, who passed his driving test yesterday morning.