will hughes

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is stepping up his chase for Derby’s highly-rated midfielder Will Hughes, according to the Mirror.

Rodgers sent his chief scout to watch the England U-21 international this week, and views him as the long-term successor to the legendary Steven Gerrard.

Hughes, 18, limped out of Tuesday night’s Championship encounter at Bolton due to a hip injury, but had already impressed in front of watching scouts by providing an assist in the 2-2 draw.

Liverpool have been tracking the teenager for some time now but will not make a formal offer until they feel the time – and price – is right.

However, they may have to fend off interest from Merseyside rivals Everton, who also sent a two-man delegation to watch the starlet in action this week.

Hughes is considered one of the game’s most promising up-and-coming stars and recently said he models his game on Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andr s Iniesta.

His main strengths are his passing and technical abilities while he has also become known as a “flair player” due to his usage of through balls and mazy runs to create space for teammates.

Despite Everton’s interest, Liverpool are still understood to be favourites to land the precocious youngster, possibly in the January transfer window, but may have to act fast to avoid missing out.

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