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Derby boss Steve McClaren admits he is expecting to lose starlet Will Hughes.
The 18-year-old has caught the eye of a number of Premier League managers with a string of match winning performances for his club.
The left-footed midfielder hit the final goal in Derby's 3-1 win over Leeds to get the former England manager's reign at Pride Park off to a winning start.
But with Manchester United believed to be leading the race to sign the talented youngster, McClaren is already planning for life after Hughes when the transfer window opens in January.
"Our job is to make sure he makes it," he said. "Eventually he will be too good. What we need behind that is players coming through to replace him."
Hughes is just the latest prodigious talent to graduate from the Rams' highly rated youth academy.
The England under-21 man is following the likes of Hull midfielder Tom Huddlestone, Giles Barnes and Wales international Lewin Nyatanga off the production line at Moor Farm.
Since being promoted to the first team by former boss Nigel Clough in 2011, Hughes has gone on to make 55 league and cup appearances for the club.
"Touch, awareness, intelligence," Clough said before being sacked after the defeat at Nottingham Forest. "There's not many players in the Championship at his age playing week in, week out."
His successor agreed, adding he had "fantastic ability" following the win over Leeds.
"Wants the ball, deals with the ball, can take it, big character, got energy," continued McClaren. "Just wants to play football. Everyone can see the potential."
Source: Daily Mirror
Author: Daily Mirror Tagged:
, will hughes
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