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Fulham manager Mark Hughes feels that Brede Hangeland is the equal of any central defender in the Premier League.

Hughes was an admirer of the giant Norwegian even before he was appointed as Roy Hodgson’s replacement at Fulham last summer.

However, the opportunity to work at close quarters with the 29-year-old has allowed Hughes to realise just how good Hangeland is.

At Manchester City, not only did Hangeland produce a towering defensive performance that kept Carlos Tevez and company at bay, he also played the delicate pass to Andrew Johnson that released the Fulham striker to cross for Damien Duff’s opener.

“Brede is one of those players that you don’t realise how good he is until you actually work with him,” said Hughes.

“There are a number of those players at Fulham. In that sense, I was delighted with what I discovered there.

“As a ball-playing centre-half, Brede is as good as they come.

“He can see the type of passes he played in the build-up to our goal. He doesn’t just want to clear his lines.”

So willing is Hangeland to play, he can land himself in bother with his manager.

“On occasion he will get a little bit of criticism from me because we can sometimes overplay,” said Hughes.

“But it is great to see the kind of pass he played to Andy Johnson.”