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Can Southgate continue to ignore Will Hughes?

Frane Selak
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
616   //    10 Sep 2018, 22:14 IST

Watford's remarkable start to the season has caught many Premier League enthusiasts by surprise. In fact, many respected football pundits had the Hornets being relegated from the Premier League altogether.

ESPN's Craig Burley and Shaka Hislop both predicted Javi Gracia's team to finish in the bottom three. With four consecutive opening game victories, Watford is flawless and Gracia was recently the Premier League Manager of the Month.


Javi Gracia Wins the Barclays Manager of the Month Award - August 2018
Javi Gracia won the Barclays Manager of the Month Award - August 2018

While Gracia's praise is well deserved, other members of the Watford team have earned the right to share in the compliments. One such member is Englishman Will Hughes.

The midfielder has been excellent for a Watford team that currently sits in a Champions League qualification spot. Hughes started all four of Watford's matches and is showing all the signs of fulfilling the massive potential many believed he has.

Watford FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Watford FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
"A good player, going to be a top player for sure....he is a young talent, he has got the ability to go right to the very top there is no doubt about that I have been very impressed with him...a real player for a top Premier League Club" - Harry Rednapp on a then teenage Will Hughes

At 23, Hughes has impressively amassed close to 400 senior club professional games. To put that into perspective, he has played professionally for his clubs for over 70 more games than the England starting midfielder Jesse Lingard, a player who is two years Hughes' senior.

Once monitored by FC Barcelona at U 17 level, Hughes had been tipped for great success before injuries started to creep into his career. Now back to full fitness and bang on form, Hughes' sublime technical ability and creative spark might be just what is needed for the English national team.


Burnley FC v Watford FC - Premier League
Burnley FC v Watford FC - Premier League

Gareth Southgate's World Cup momentum has dimmed somewhat, as Harry Kane and co. suffered losses in their last three games. Leicester City duo Demarai Grey and Ben Chillwell have since been promoted to the senior team as England looks to bring new life into the national team set up.

If Hughes continues churning out quality Premier League performances it would be difficult for Southgate to turn a blind eye to the midfielder.

To be fair, the England coach has acknowledged Hughes in a group of players that he has his eyes on but are not quite ready.

"There's a couple of others that are still young, that still have room for growth – the (Nathaniel) Chalobahs, Will Hughes, Ross Barkleys ..”- Gareth Southgate, England manager

Watford manager Javi Garcia did not hesitate for a second when asked if England should call up Hughes.

“I think he’s ready.....I knew from the first day I saw him that he was different......He’s a special player, with great quality in all the details." Javi Garcia, Watford manager
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Frane Selak
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