Not my snappiest title ever, and in truth I’ll probably hone it later.
A good friend is a Derby County fan, and often speaks highly of Will Hughes. An English footballer with a Spanish football brain, by all accounts.
Humour me for 90 seconds, please. Hypothetical situation coming up.
Now let’s say Hughes, still only 18, signs for Liverpool. How is that going to go down?
“I’ve always been a Liverpool fan deep down” says a beaming Hughes, squirming because Brendan Rogers has his arm around him a little too tightly.
A few games go by, and Hughes is yet to play. He gets his chance in the league cup, but a midfield of Hughes & Joe Allen doesn’t quite dominate and Liverpool are out.
Six months later he’s made a handful of appearances, but never got a run of games & is being considered a flop by some at Anfield.
Even a poem written for him by Dave Kirby & a ride on the back of Ian Ayre’s motorbike can’t make Hughes feel at home.
As a new season begins, Hughes is loaned out to Middlesbrough for the season. He does ok, and returns to Liverpool ready to play. A good preseason but Gerrard requests to play despite having a broken leg, and Hughes once again ends up on the bench.
A year or so later, he joins Norwich, plays well but his career is in decline now. Norwich are relegated and sell of their players to trim the wage bill. Hughes, quite a bit fatter now, rejoins Derby but it’s not the same.
By 25 he’s joining Bournemouth and people are saying “whatever happened to Will Hughes”
Magic lost, Hughes joins the long lists of “next big things gone wrong ” as Liverpool go off and buy some other wonder kid.
Moral of the story: premier league teams buy talented players whether they’re going to play them or not, then more often than not, they ruin them.
Story inspired by watching Ross Turnbull playing for Doncaster