Timi Max Elsnik said it was a great learning curve to play alongside a number of senior players during Derby County Under 21s’ 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers last night.

The 17-year-old Slovenian lined up alongside the likes of Darren Bent, Nick Blackman, Jake Buxton, Jamie Hanson and Farrend Rawson during the victory over Rovers at the iPro Stadium.

All five players complemented the younger talent well as the Rams’ Under 21s secured their fourth win in five outings to maintain their position at the top of the Barclays U21 Premier League – Division 2 summit.

Speaking after the game, Elsnik was particularly pleased with the ‘shift’ that each and every player put in against Blackburn.

He told Rams Player HD: “It was a great experience to be back at the iPro Stadium and to play in front of the crowd.

“It is always a pleasure to play here, especially for us younger players. Everyone really put a shift in.

“It was a great game and I was happy to play my part in it. We did well with the possession, we controlled the game and created a lot of chances.

“The three points are the main thing because it keeps us at the top of the league.”

He added: “There was myself and Macca (Calum Macdonald) at left back who were playing from the Under 18s squad and it was great to play alongside players like Darren Bent and Nick Blackman, particularly because it was a great opportunity to compare myself to them and see where I am at.

“It’s always a big thing for me to be alongside first team players, whether it is on the training field or in a game situation.”

With only five games remaining, Derby hold a five point gap at the top of the Division 2 table, but Arsenal, who are behind them in second, have three games in hand.

The two sides are set to meet at the iPro Stadium for the final game of the campaign in April.

Whilst Rory Delap may have his players under slightly different methods after he took charge of his first game, Elsnik insists the focus is on maintaining their momentum until the end of the season.

He added: “I have worked with Rory a lot with the Under 18s and this is a different stage for him.

“He’s doing a great job for us, I like the way he works and the training sessions have been a little bit different now. We operate with a small squad, but we are doing well to keep our momentum going.

“We have got a big five games remaining and we will be aiming just to make sure we stay at the top of the table.

“It’s up to us now. We have to keep doing the things that we have been doing from the first game of the season.

“We have still got another two games at the iPro Stadium – the last of which is against Arsenal. That will be a great game and is set to be a big one for us.”

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