Derby County midfielder Will Hughes has earned a deserved call up to the England under-21s side for their friendly against Northern Ireland Under-21s next week at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool.
It’s mad how quickly things can change in a year #livingthedream
— Will Hughes (@willhughes44) November 8, 2012
Hughes is an academy graduate of Derby and has already gained international experience at under-17 level. He is the first Rams player to earn an England under-21 call up since Miles Addison did in 2009.
It’s really delighting to hear this news and having watched him in the Championship we all know he fully deserves it. Let’s not forget his age, he’s just 17! Aged 17 and achieving an under-21 call-up is very impressive and sometimes his age is very hard to believe when we see him in action.
Credit must go to the club’s academy, who are starting to produce some promising youngsters. However, could this mean that more clubs will be looking at him. Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been linked with the exciting talent, who signed a new deal that runs until the summer of 2015.
At the end of this campaign Stuart Pearce’s England under-21s will compete in the Euro 2013 Under-21 Championships and will use the rest of this season to prepare for that, so if Hughes keeps up his form then he certainly could be within a shout of making that squad.
Full Squad: Ben Amos (Hull), Sam Johnstone (Man Utd), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough); Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Tom Lees (Leeds), Liam Moore (Leicester), Jack Robinson (Liverpool), Adam Smith (Tottenham), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool); Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Will Hughes (Derby), Jason Lowe (Blackburn), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Nick Powell (Man Utd), Andros Townsend (Tottenham); Benik Afobe (Arsenal), Sammy Ameobi (Newcastle), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Connor Wickham (Sunderland), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).
I’d also like to briefly mention Leon Osman, who earned his first ever senior England call-up today. He has been included in Roy Hodgeson’s squad for next week’s friendly against Sweden. The Everton midfielder enjoyed a successful loan spell with Derby back in 2004, helping the Rams survive relegation.
Meanwhile Jamie Ward will be forced to miss Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan next week through an ongoing hamstring problem that he picked up in the 1-0 victory at the City Ground in September. The Rams forward was included in manager Michael O’Neill’s 24-man squad in the hope that he’d be ready and fit for the fixture but it looks likely to come too soon for him.