Derby County manager Brian Clough is expecting big clubs to take an interest in midfielder Will Hughes.
The 18-year-old was an integral part of the first team set-up at Pride Park last season, and his performances caught the eye of several Premier League sides, including Manchester United and Chelsea.
And with Derby set to kick-off their season with a home fixture against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, Clough believes Hughes will again be a key player in his side season.
“I expect Will to pick up where he left off last season, and if he does that then there will inevitably be more interest in him from the top, top clubs,” he said.
“And in a way we hope there is that interest because it would mean he is playing well for us.
“We are excited about seeing quite a few of the players this season but him more than anybody, really, after what he did for 30-odd games last season before his injury.
“He looks in good shape now and he has looked good in pre-season. He has got his A-Levels out of the way now, which is good news because now he can just concentrate on his football, and he looks strong.”
Hughes performances saw him feature for the England Under-21 side on two occasions – and Clough fully expects him to receive more international recognition this campaign.
“The England Under-21s should hopefully come around for him again this season if he plays well enough,” he continued.
“But he is bright enough to know that if he keeps on doing it week in, week out for Derby then it will all follow on from there.
“We just expect him to carry on that form from last season and to improve as well.”
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