Byline: COLIN WOOD
AARON HUGHES can hardly believe the speed at which his career is moving.
Two months short of his 18th birthday, he is lined up for a taste of World Cup action with Northern Ireland before he experiences first-team football with Newcastle United.
But back home in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, there is every confidence that the youngster discovered playing for the Boys' Brigade in Ulster's annual Milk Cup will take any challenge in his stride.
'It was after playing against Newcastle in the Under-14s that I was offered the chance to join them. At that age and in my position you might worry that your opportunities at such a big club would be limited,' he reflected. 'My mum and dad said, "If you're good enough you will get y o u r c h a n c e ". I a c c e p t e d Newcastle's offer and honestly feel I will get my chance, if not this season, then next.' Northern Ireland manager Bryan Hamilton is likely to give Hughes his international chance first - at some stage of the World Cup Group Nine meeting with Albania here tomorrow.
Hamilton said: 'I believe in him so much that I brought him into the squad, and because we have only 18 players he will either be in the starting XI or on the bench. …