Derby County Under-18s boss Justin Walker has spoken of his pride for the Rams' Academy graduates who have stepped up to the first-team squad this season.

Defender Lee Buchanan and midfielder Jason Knight have been handed first team minutes in the Sky Bet Championship by manager Phillip Cocu whilst Max Bird, Morgan Whittaker and Louie Sibley have all featured in the Carabao Cup campaign.

That’s five of Derby’s title-winning Under-18s squad who have already featured for the Rams this season in competitive action.

Buchanan proved to be the matchwinner in the First Round victory over Scunthorpe United as he struck the only goal of the game to set up a Second Round clash against Nottingham Forest.

Both the defender and Jason Knight have started two league fixtures this season against, West Bromwich Albion and Brentford, and Walker could not be happier for the Rams' youngsters.

“I am so proud and it is well deserved,” he told RamsTV. “The crucial part of that right now is they maximise the opportunity that they have provided because that is all you can ask for as a young player.

“The manager has provided that and it is up to them now what they do with that opportunity. You never know when that opportunity comes how they are going to react in that environment and what temperament they have.

“Knowing the boys like I do and as we do as an Academy, nothing surprises us. They are certainly talented and I think it is always about that temperament, like Jayden Bogle proved last season because he could handle that.

“There are going to be ups and downs through their involvement with the first-team, but I think the belief that the staff and the club have invested into the lads is warranted.”