We’ve seen some fantastic talent, in recent years, produced and put to to challenge in the first team squad at Pride Park.
The club’s academy are developing a great reputation with more home grown players pulling on a Rams jersey in the Championship. This great reputation will only help the Rams attract the best local talent and hot prospects from other parts of the land, like Charles Vernom – a recent signing from Scunthorpe. The 16-year old had a trial at Italian giants AC Milan earlier this year. The facilities at the club’s training ground and academy base Moor Farm are first class and certainly Premier League quality.
Will Hughes’ recent England under-21 call-up is testament to the work being done by Academy head Darren Wassell and his team. The 17-year old midfielder has performed excellently in the first team this season and, if you believe reports today in the Telegraph and Daily Mail, the Rams are ready to sell the England youth international for at least £4 million. The Daily Mail suggested that he would be sold after Nigel Clough has been told to raise £1.8million in the New Year. Both mentioned Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool as clubs interested.
We’ve seen Jeff Hendrick, Mark O’Brien, Callum Ball and Mason Bennett – some of the main names to have emerged through the system in recent times. Irishman Jeff Hendrick is a first team regular and bagged one of the most memorable Rams goals in history at the City Ground last campaign. Fellow Irishman Mark O’Brien looked comfortable at times in the Championship last season but unfortunately picked up a bad injury that kept him out for months, halting his career. Meanwhile Callum Ball stepped up to the plate in the Championship last term but has now been loaned to League One Coventry City to gain more experience. England youth player Mason Bennett became the clubs’ youngest player last season and is certainly one to watch in the future, while now he continues his development.
Having a good academy is the foundations of a good football club going in the right direction and it’s so pleasing to see that Derby County have one, proved recently. Since Nigel Clough has been in the hot seat at Derby we have seen youngsters break through and given more opportunities, the hard work that’s gone in at the Academy level is paying off. It’s fair to say that within the game Derby have a glowing reputation for the work they are doing with the youngsters.
Before I leave you, have a view of this FA Youth Cup win at Arsenal last season.