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Derby County have strengthened their midfield options for the second half of the 2016/17 season with the signing of Middlesbrough’s Julien de Sart.

De Sart, 22, has joined Derby on a standard loan until the end of the campaign from the Premier League side.

The player has also been given permission to feature in the Emirates FA Cup and could make his debut in Derby’s Third Round tie at Premier League West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

The Belgian Under 21 international is regarded as a defensive midfielder and will add to the options available to manager Steve McClaren in the middle of the park.

Speaking about the signing, McClaren said: “We’re pleased to welcome Julien to Derby County.

“He is a talented player with plenty of potential and, having made the move from Belgium, he has been in English football for almost a year now. I’m looking forward to working with him.”

De Sart came through the youth ranks in his homeland at Standard Liege and made 75 appearances for the Belgian side between August 2013 and February 2016, during which time he also gained Europa League experience.

He signed for Middlesbrough just under a year ago on a three-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee and came off the bench twice as they secured automatic promotion to the top flight in May.

During the current campaign, de Sart’s only taste of action came back in August in the EFL Cup for Boro away to Fulham.

On the international stage, de Sart has been capped at youth level from Under 16s through to Under 21s for his country.

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