Hughes beaming after Derby injury comeback

Will Hughes has told the Derby Telegraph of his delight at getting back onto the pitch after making his first appearance since August 2015 on Thursday. He appeared for the second half in Shaun Barker’s testimonial at the iPro Stadium.

The England Under-21 international suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage on the opening day of the season against Bolton Wanderers, and hasn’t appeared in a competitive match since. Playing 45 minutes in what was essentially a friendly game may not seem like much, but it was a major step in his eyes.

The 20-year-old resumed training last month and is set to reappear in the first-team matchday squad in the coming weeks. Next week he is in line to play for the Under-21 side, where he will gain further minutes in his comeback from a serious injury.

The youngster was just delighted to get back onto the pitch,

“It was great to be back on the pitch again. When you are out for so long you really do appreciate it when you’re back,”

He admitted to some nerves about returning to action after such a lengthy absence and considering the magnitude and severity of his injury,

“Being worried is to be expected and when I spoke to people who have had the injury before, they said it was normal.

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“After about five or so minutes you quickly forget that you’ve been out for so long.

“I feel relieved now I’ve played a game. I have been training for the last few weeks but you can’t replicate a game situation.”

Although he is desperate to get back into the first-team picture as soon as possible, Hughes concedes that he cannot rush back too soon, or else he will feel the consequences. He is happy to go along with the rehabilitation programme in place, but admits his fitness levels are strong,

“My fitness is pretty good and I feel in good shape after training for a few weeks.

“Now it is a case of getting some time with the under-21s and taking things from there. No matter how fit you are, you need to get match sharpness and that is what I need to get now.

“In terms of the knee, it feels good and I am confident with how it is after the surgery and my rehabilitation work. I get the odd niggle here and there but that is to be expected . It’s not an issue.”

Although he has missed practically all of the season to date, having Hughes back for the final few matches of the season and potentially the play-offs would surely be a huge boost to Derby County.

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