Justin Walker couldn’t fault his Under-18s side after their 4-0 Premier League Cup win over Sunderland and praised the highly successful current spell for his players.
A brace from Tyree Wilson and further first-half goals from Yoann Greco and Morgan Whittaker completed the scoring before half-time as the Rams claimed their second victory in the competition.
This sees them on the brink of progression from the group stages, and Walker highlighted his side’s dominance in the game.
Speaking to dcfc.co.uk, he said: “I thought first-half we scored some very good goals, and I’m delighted with the clean sheet and four goals because we totally dominated the game.
“The game was won in the first-half definitely. I would have liked to have seen us be a little bit more relentless and ruthless in the second-half but, on the whole, I can’t knock the lads. The effort that they’ve put in, and some of the performances have been fantastic.
“Obviously, we’re going into the international break, and it’s been a positive period for us. Morgan Whittaker has been called up by England, Jason Knight is going away on international duty, we had Festy (Ebolese) missing today as he’s away with Ireland.
“We also had Alex Matthews in today who’s an Under-16, Brad (Foster-Theniger) hasn’t played and that’s his first game, so lots of positives from this week.”
With progression from Group C of the Under-18s Premier League Cup near, the Rams are looking to go further in the competition than last season.
After falling at the group stage last time out despite not losing a game, Walker says the competition helps to satisfy the need for games for his developing players.
He said: “Hopefully two wins will put us through in the group, so that’s mission accomplished in terms of progression.
“The most important thing is you have addition challenges throughout the season, stay in cup competitions and see how far that takes you.
“Obviously, there’s an interesting draw for us in the FA Youth Cup, so there’s games coming thick and fast; that’s what young players need.”
Winger Morgan Whittaker celebrated his first call-up to the England Under-18s squad with the third goal in this game as Derby attacked at will.
Walker believes that his call-up indicates the progression of him and others in the academy set-up.
He said: “It’s a sign of the type of players we’ve got within the academy. It’s nice to get international recognition for the players, and Morgan deserves it.
“I personally think he’s got his head down and worked really hard for the Under-18s and had some opportunities at Under-23s level, so he needs to step into that environment now and show his worth.
“Hopefully he goes away with England and does himself proud because he really does deserve it.”