Rams midfielder wins his first England Under 21 cap.

Rams midfielder wins his first England Under 21 cap.


Derby County’s Will Hughes became the second youngest player to represent England’s Under 21 side when he came off the bench for the Three Lions on Tuesday night in their international friendly against Northern Ireland.

England won the game 2-0, with Sunderland’s Conor Wickham and Bolton’s on-loan Arsenal striker Benik Afobe the goalscorers.


17-year-old Derby County Academy product Hughes, who doesn’t turn 18 until mid-April, came off the bench after 65 minutes to replace Middlesbrough’s on-loan Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran in the centre of the park.


Hughes didn’t look out of place either, quickly getting himself on the ball and taking his form in a Derby shirt onto the international scene.


He was also denied a debut goal late on when his goalbound shot was blocked by a Northern Ireland defender.


It is still less than a week ago that he was called up to Stuart Pearce’s squad for the game at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road ground after an impressive run of appearances for Nigel Clough’s Rams this season, where he has made 17 outings and scored twice.


He also recently signed a new contract until the summer of 2015, only a few months after the Academy graduate signed professional terms.


Clough said: “We’re all very proud of Will. It’s a great achievement for someone of his age to be in the Under 21 squad and everyone connected with Derby County is exceptionally proud of Will this evening.”


Hughes will re-join the Derby squad on Wednesday morning as the preparations for the Rams’ trip to Championship leaders Crystal Palace on Saturday gather pace.