Justin Walker was full of praise for his Derby County Under-18s side as they triumphed 5-1 over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

The first-half had seen the Rams dominate possession but eventually fall behind before the break. However, five second-half strikes gave them a convincing victory.

This win means that the side are now unbeaten in seven games, and Walker took pride in seeing his players overcome a tricky spell in the game.

Speaking to dcfc.co.uk, he said: “It was a funny game really because we dominated for 90 minutes but we could’ve been 3-0 down at half-time, as strange as that sounds.

“Sam French made two really important saves to keep the scoreline down, but it was against the run of play in terms of possession. The second-half was very pleasing.

“I think in and out of possession, the lads were magnificent. We dominated the game and worked so hard for each other, and in the end, it was the hunger and the determination of the players that saw them through.

“I think if we’d have played for an extra 10 minutes, the scoreline would have reflected that.”

With things not going their way in the first period, the Rams certainly needed to use that determination to come through the most recent test thrown at them.

Walker’s bright, young squad continue to impress in that aspect and he was able to reflect on that after the game.

“It’s good and we’re trying to make sure that the players are exposed to the different challenges every week,” he said.

“West Brom have done that in the first-half; they’ve changed their system three times to try and counteract what we were doing, which is them paying respect to us really.

“But the lads have to continue believing in the way they want to play, and they got their rewards in the second-half.”

Whilst the side’s results on the pitch are impressive, the high level of performance can only come from the right attitude and work-ethic off it.

Walker clearly believes that his players are heading in the right direction because of those vital qualities at this stage of their career too.

He said: “I love working with this group. There’s a lot of character and personalities, but they’re hungry to succeed.

“Hopefully we keep providing that challenge for them week in, week out with the U18s. There are bigger challenges ahead though, and we’re not getting carried away with anything.

“They’ve won some games at Under-18s level, but their future is our priority, in terms of where we see them; Under-23s, first-team level.

“Or is it that they’re just going to stay in the game and find a career at a different level, but still find a career, which is the most difficult task for a 16-17-year-old.”