Derby County Under-18s manager Justin Walker was delighted with his side’s performance in their 3-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

Jason Knight opened the scoring after early on and Liverpool equalised through Bobby Duncan shortly after half-time, but two late strikes from Morgan Whittaker in the final 15 minutes confirmed a seventh consecutive league victory for the Rams.

The result saw the Rams return to the top of the Premier League – North table and Walker outlined the real positives from the display that his players put in.

Speaking to, he said: “It was a really encouraging performance and really positive.

“We did a lot of work this week in terms of in and out of possession, and all the credit goes to the lads actually.

“Their maturity and engagement this week has been fantastic, and they’ve shown that they can flip between systems very smoothly.

“They’ve also been able to fulfil their roles and responsibilities within the team and play for each other, which is very pleasing.”

With six games of the campaign remaining, the Under-18s have put themselves in a strong position in terms of league position and their individual development as players.

Following their latest signal of progression, Walker noted the way that his squad have pushed themselves on this season.

He said: “They are pushing each other, want to get better and want to learn new stuff.

“There’s a lot of stuff that comes out of every game that we play.

“We have a review of that every Monday where the lads are directing with the staff what they want to work on and improve.

“Because of that, it’s a really healthy environment at the moment.”

A superb season to date has seen the Rams competing with academies from some of the Premier League’s most established clubs.

They currently sit above the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United and Walker urged his side to keep up the standards they have shown to compete at this level.

He said: “Liverpool are a top side and have some very, very good players.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s credit to our lads that we are competing with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton.

“We know where we are, but we can’t take any shortcuts.

“We must keep working hard every single day to make sure we are staying with those clubs in terms of performance and standards.”