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WHEN a manager with Bobby Robson's experience and knowledge of football compares you to the late England captain Bobby Moore, you can't be doing badly as a defender.

Newcastle's Aaron Hughes was given that tag after the 3-1 win over Middlesbrough in October when Robson said: "He has a touch of Bobby Moore about him because he reads the game so well."

It's a comparison that Rio Ferdinand has been labelled with for years; inevitably you could say, considering his West Ham upbringing and collected style of play.

The "new Bobby Moore" phrase was back in the press this week as Ferdinand completed his £18 million move to Leeds - a record English transfer fee and the highest amount of money any club in the world has ever paid for a defender.

Ferdinand may well go on to fulfill his potential at Elland Road and prove value for money to Leeds, but the stats from Opta suggest the Moore tag is more suitable when related to Hughes.

The 21-year-old Northern Ireland international has not missed a minute of Premiership football this season and his regular inclusion in the side has helped him flourish as a player.

He has completed 78% of his passes, 10 percentage points better than Ferdinand's record and seven percentage points above the Premiership average.

Hughes also has superior completion rates to Ferdinand in dribbling and tackling - skills traditionally associated with Moore - while the Newcastle man has conceded just four free-kicks this season, an average of about one every three games.

Despite playing less football this term, Ferdinand has completed more clearances and interceptions than Hughes and he has also ventured forward to strike nine shots at goal with a 33% accuracy.

But Magherafelt-born Hughes is making a big impression in this season's Premiership and his manager's praise is certainly not out of place. Click here to see the Opta Stats on Hughes and Ferdinand.