WILL Hughes is hoping his experiences playing for England can help his Derby County career.
The 17-year-old played the whole of the second half for Stuart Pearce’s Under-21s on Tuesday night as the youngsters eased to a 4-0 friendly win against Sweden at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.
It was the Rams midfielder’s second successive substitute appearance after making his debut back in November against Northern Ireland.
He said: “Of course, I enjoyed every single minute and it was nice to get the win.
“It was a friendly so everyone was trying to make an impact and impress the manager, but at the same time we played well as a team and deserved the win.”
The former Repton School pupil began the match in central midfield, but moved out left - a position he has played for the Rams - as Pearce made changes.
Hughes said: “I thought I did okay and it was nice to get on the ball and be involved in the game.
“I played in a few positions so that’s all part of the learning process, but I really enjoyed the game and to get another win made it extra special as well.
“I’m still in the very early stages of playing youth football at international level but I’m learning all the time, especially as I am playing above my age group by a few years.
“It’s been a great experience for me once again and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to kicking on with the rest of the season at Derby now – and hopefully both myself and the club will benefit with me being away with England’s Under-21s in the future.”
Hughes was with the England squad from Sunday and feels the experience of
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being away with an international squad can only help improve him as a player.
He said: “I’ve had a great few days playing alongside the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Jordan Henderson, Tom Ince and plenty more.
“It’s been great learning off them and the coaching staff and I think all I’ve learnt will help improve me as a player.
“International football is a bit slower than what I am used to in the Championship, which I think benefits my game.”
Hughes was quick to bring himself back down to the ground and focus on club matters though, and is hoping Derby can end their poor away form in their next two games, which see them on the road at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and then Hull City next Tuesday.
“We deserved to beat Huddersfield and hopefully now we can get a few points away from home,” he said.
“There’s no reason why we can’t - we’re all confident and if we perform like we did on Saturday in our next two games we’ll give ourselves a great chance of getting something from both of them.”