Shaun Maloney opens up on conversations that led to Charlie Hughes staying with Wigan Athletic
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The 20-year-old has been named in the England Euro Elite League squad - effectively a mix of Under-19s and Under-20 - for their upcoming fixtures against Italy (November 16) and Germany (November 20).
It's a reward for a remarkable 12 months, since Hughes made his league debut at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day last term.
Despite signing a new deal in February this year, Hughes' future looked uncertain when, along with the rest of the playing squad, he was entitled to walk away for free after wage payment delays under the previous ownership.
Thankfully for the club and manager, Hughes was adamant he wanted to stay, and penned another long-term extension to pledge his future to the new era.
"Charlie needed to play football at that point," said Maloney.
"He's got so much going for him, but he's also got a lot of improvement in him as well.
"He knows what I think of him, his family knows what I think of him as a player and also as a person.
"Yeah, the club did okay with that one."
On his international call-up, Maloney added: "I'm really proud of him, and also his family.
"I got to know his dad over the summer, when we were really trying to convince him this was the right place for him to progress with his career.
"So I'm super proud of them all, and it's great to have so many call-ups, not only for England but for other countries as well.
"It's really great news for our club, and also for our Academy.
"I don't want to single out anyone too much, but when I came here, Charlie had been through a really difficult three or four games.
"But he's an exceptional player, and he deserves everything he gets.
"On days off, he's in, working extremely hard to make sure he's at his best.
"He's been leading our defensive line and, considering he's only 20, he's got a very bright future."