Under-18s boss Justin Walker cannot wait to test himself and his players in Europe this season as they embark on their UEFA Youth League campaign next month.

Derby County drew Belarusian side FC Minsk in the first round of the competition last week after qualifying via the Domestic Champions path.

After finishing top of Premier League North, the Rams faced Arsenal in the National Final in a bid to be crowned champions and in turn, qualify for the UEFA Youth League.

A hat-trick from Archie Brown inspired Walker’s side to a 5-2 victory at Pride Park Stadium back in May as they lifted the title and earned a spot in this season’s European competition.

Derby learned their opponents last week as the draw took place in Switzerland. They face a two-legged affair with FC Minsk and Walker cannot wait for the test.

“It is really exciting for everybody,” he told RamsTV. “Plans and preparations can start now for the first game.

“It is a brand-new scenario for us, an exciting one. A new competition and it exposes us to different challenges. Now everything is one and we know who our opposition is we can start our preparations.

“There is a buzz about the place. It is a brand-new experience for everyone, including me to test yourself against different opponents that you don’t come across during the domestic campaign.

“I am thoroughly looking forward to the challenge.”