Steve McClaren has expressed his delight at seeing George Thorne join Derby County on a permanent basis from West Bromwich Albion – and has quickly laid down a challenge to the midfielder.
The 21-year-old central midfielder put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal with the Club on Saturday morning after an undisclosed fee was agreed with West Bromwich Albion late on Friday.
McClaren made Thorne a top transfer target this summer after he produced a succession of impressive displays during a loan spell with Derby in the 2013/14 season.
The Head Coach felt Thorne, who came into the side in mid-March, helped take the side to ‘another level’ as they went on to reach the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium.
He is now calling on Thorne to produce the same again, if not a higher level of performance, as Derby bid to find themselves in the 2014/15 Championship promotion places.
He told Rams Player: “It is great we have signed George because he made a big difference when he came into the side last season.
“He played twelve games and I think he helped take us to another level really at the end of the season.
“That is what we want again from him, to keep us at that level and even take us up another one.
“If he can do that, he will be a big asset for us.
“This is what we wanted; at the end of last season we said we wanted to keep the squad together.”
He added: “The players are delighted he is back and the fans certainly are too.”
McClaren has also moved to thank the Club’s Ownership Group and senior figures at the iPro Stadium for their effort and commitment in bringing Thorne back to Derby.
He said: “Credit should go to the board, Sam Rush (Chief Executive), Chris Evans (Head of Football Operations), John Vicars (Chief Operating Officer) and Stephen Pearce (Finance Director) – all of those who pushed it – and the owners for verifying everything.
“They deserve a lot of credit for getting this deal over the line.
“I think without the persistence of Sam this wouldn’t have happened and likewise George, who wanted to come here.
“That’s the most important thing for us, the player wanted to come and join Derby County.”
Watch more from Steve McClaren in an exclusive interview on Rams Player.