Rams boss sees Derby's international call-ups as a strong recruitment tool.
Nigel Clough reckons that Richard Keogh and Conor Sammon’s international call-ups this year, within 12 months of signing for the Rams, can be used as a strong recruitment tool this summer.
Keogh and Sammon joined the Rams in the summer of 2012 from Coventry City and Wigan Athletic respectively, and went on to establish themselves as regulars in Clough’s side.
Defender Keogh won all three of Derby’s Player of the Year Awards for 2012-13 while Dublin-born striker Sammon scored nine goals during a campaign that saw the Rams finish tenth in the Championship table.
The duo, along with Academy product Jeff Hendrick, claimed their first international caps for the Republic of Ireland in February, and have remained part of Giovanni Trapattoni’s plans ever since.
Clough feels that their ambitions have been reached as a result of their moves to Pride Park.
With the summer transfer window now open, the Derby boss believes the fact the duo gained their first international caps following their moves to Derbyshire could play a part in convincing potential new signings to join Derby.
He said: “Our players getting call-ups is a strong recruitment tool for us and it’s another positive that we can offer potential signings.
“First and foremost, we hope to help them improve as players while they are with us and if they have international aspirations too, like Richard and Conor, then there’s evidence to prove we can help them on that front too.
“We had to convince Conor Sammon to drop down from the Premier League last year but it’s worked out for him, as playing regularly has forced him into the Ireland squad when he wasn’t getting a look-in at Wigan.
“Conor feels like the move has progressed his career and it’s the same with Richard too, who has been on an upward curve for the last few years.
“He had the pick of a few clubs last summer but we talked to him about Derby being the best place for him and so far, it’s worked out that way.
“The caps they’ve got to date have helped justify the decisions they made on both counts and given how hard we work on our recruitment, it’s good to see the players equally rewarded for the fact we made the right decisions in bringing them in.”
Academy products Hendrick and Will Hughes have both received international honours this year and Clough believes the stories they have created in the early years of their careers have benefited the Derby County Academy.
21-year-old Hendrick now has three full international caps to his name for Ireland while Hughes, who has just turned 18, has collected two England Under 21 caps.
He said: “Their progress has made an impact on the Academy and Darren Wassall (Academy Manager) and his team have noticed a change in perception of the Club when it comes to signing youngsters right the way through the system.
“Young players know they will get a chance here and what Jeff and Will have achieved already vindicates our faith in youth.
“We’ve said all along we’ll give players a chance if we think they’re good enough regardless of their age.
“It’s pleasing that young players and parents see that too and want to be part of Derby County, to potentially follow in the footsteps of those who have made it to the first-team already.”