Justin Walker was left delighted by the character his Derby County Under-18s displayed as they struck two late goals in a 4-3 Premier League Cup victory at Reading.
The boss viewed the performance as ‘very positive’ as his side got back to winning ways following last weeks 1-0 loss at Stoke.
He said: “We weren't at the races for the first 10 minutes, a little bit too respectful. But after that we showed the character required to obtain a positive outcome.
“They’ve got character, that's for sure,” he added, before saying: Showing that [character] consistently is the aim now.
“It was a hard fought game, they played some decent stuff at times and they asked a lot of questions physically. I thought we came to terms with that. We put them on the back foot and probably could've scored more goals, if we were a little more clinical. That would’ve given us a little more breathing space in the game,” said Walker.
He also spoke on the performance of wideman Archie Brown who scored once in each half, first through a header, and then from the spot as he guided the Rams to an impressive win.
“Archie [Brown] was a threat all game. He scored an outstanding goal with his head, which is a bit of a collectors item really. He's starting to recognise positions and show the courage to go and win some duels. It was a great finish, he was a real threat and scored two good goals.
“Before he took the penalty, he wasn’t happy with the ball on the pitch, saying it was too flat! He works hard at penalties, he practices them on a regular basis in training. To be fair to him, he finished it well,” said the young Rams’ manager.
Walker also professed his excitement ahead of his sides’ UEFA Youth League debut in Minsk on Tuesday afternoon, saying: “We've got a busy week ahead of us now, a three game week. [It's] a really exciting time with different competitions.
“There's a focus and an energy around the group and the result today helps to contribute towards that,” he added.
“We’re really looking forward to it [Minsk]. There's a focus from all of us, staff, players. We know what's required, a team effort, a real togetherness. Everyone's going to need to contribute at some stage. We've got three different competitions this week and everyone’s raring to go.”
Words by: Jack Hasler