CHESTER star Sam Hughes has joined former Premier League champions Leicester City – and the Blues’ player-assistant Tom Shaw has backed the defender to make a big impact.
The 20-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the Foxes, who famously forked out £1m for striker Jamie Vardy from Fleetwood Town in 2012.
Hughes’ fee is a more modest figure – thought to be around £130,000 – with Chester hoping to benefit from future add-ons.
It’s a huge fillip for the National League club with Hughes a product of their youth system. He broke into the team in the 2015-16 season and had a loan spell at Witton Albion, but it was last season, following a switch from midfield to defence, where he really came to the fore.
Championship side Barnsley had an offer knocked back in January but there was no way the club were going to stand in his way this summer.
Midfielder Shaw, who has been named as boss Jon McCarthy’s assistant for next season, is convinced the youngster has a bright future.
“It’s a fantastic move and what a great opportunity for him,” Shaw told The NLP. “With my coach’s head on, it’s been amazing to see how he’s improved and flourished playing at a very good standard of men’s football.
“When he first came in you could see he had the physicality straight away. The technical and tactical side needed some work, but every single game he seems to have got better and better. Without doubt he was our best player last season. It got to the point where he looked like a seasoned campaigner even as a 20-year-old kid.
“The manager switched him to centre-half last season and I think that will set Sam up to have a very good career.
“What he’s got is a really strong mentality. Anything that did go wrong, he dealt with it quickly. There was a lot of speculation last season but he kept his head down. We’re really pleased it has happened for him. I think he sees the opportunity he’s got at a massive football club.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy has continued his summer shopping with the signings of midfielder Paul Turnbull from Barrow and Torquay defender Lathaniel Rowe-Turner. Luke George has left to join Hartlepool.