Derby midfielder lands Football League Award.
Derby County’s Will Hughes has been named the Football League Young Player of the Year at The Football League Awards 2014.
Derby County’s Chief Executive, Sam Rush, received the award on Hughes’ behalf at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.
This year a total of 36 clubs were shortlisted for 17 awards and Hughes beat competition from Leicester City’s Liam Moore and Swindon Town’s Alex Pritchard to claim the overall Football League Young Player of the Year Award.
One of the most talked-about youngsters in the English game, Hughes has been a fixture in Derby’s side for the last two seasons and he doesn’t even turn 19 until April. The youngster made his debut at the age of 16 in November 2011 before really establishing himself from the start of 2012/13 with a series of eye-catching displays in the Rams’ engine room.
This season, Hughes has played an integral part in the heart of the team’s midfield, making nearly 40 appearances, scoring a handful of goals and helping Derby embark on a campaign that could end in promotion to the Premier League. His comfort on the ball and ability to pick a pass have seen him progress through the England Under-17 and Under-19 squads to the Under-21 setup. Hughes was also named The Football League’s Young Player of the Month for November 2012.
On accepting the award on behalf of Hughes, who was unable attend the event, Rush said: “There is a huge amount of competition in the Football League and a third of all players are eligible for this award so for him (Hughes) to come out on top at 18 is an amazing achievement for him.
“He is a very grounded young man, considering the achievements he has had and the amount of exposure he has had. He is intelligent as well and I think that is why he has made such quick progress.”
Presented to the best player in The Football League under the age of 21, or in the season in which he turns 21, the Young Player of the Year award celebrates the emergence of young playing talent at The League’s 72 clubs. Currently a third of all players registered with Football League clubs are eligible to be considered for this award.
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League, said: "The Football League Awards 2014 has given us the opportunity to reward outstanding achievement, both on and off the pitch, by Football League clubs.
"Every one of tonight's winners is a worthy recipient of their award and all the other nominees have helped set an exceptional standard this year.
"It has been a tremendous celebration of life in The Football League."
The Awards were streamed live on The Football League's official YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as official club websites and YouTube channels for the first time ever.
To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit www.FLAwards.com.
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