Former Derby County loan star Leon Osman says he has nothing but happy memories of his time at Pride Park Stadium.

Osman, who is now working as a pundit after hanging up his boots in 2016, impressed during a loan spell with the Rams back 2004.

The midfielder, who went on to play for England later in his career, played 17 times for Derby under George Burley after arriving on loan from Everton.

His performances impressed supporters and he is regarded by many as one of the Rams’ best-ever loan signings.

His stint at Pride Park proved to be instrumental in him going on to become an establishing regular at Goodison Park.

Osman, who came through Everton’s youth system, racked up over 400 appearances for his boyhood club in the Premier League.

The 38-year-old says he’s forever grateful for the part Derby County played in career and he still has great fondness for the club.

Speaking on RamsTV’s Matchday Live show last week for the game against Sheffield Wednesday, Osman said: “The club had a big impact on me earlier in my career.

“I only played for 17 games over the course of three months and I had the time of my life.

“It was a step I needed to go on and establish myself as a Premier League player at Everton in the future.

“I settled in really well and it was a brilliant time for me and, as I said, just what I needed. The stadium and fans, of course, are fantastic and the new training ground had just been built.

“When I recalled by Everton I didn’t think I’d be playing but I went back, got in the team and things went brilliantly for me from there.

“I always look back on my time at Derby County very fondly.”

Osman has also backed Wayne Rooney to be a positive addition to the Derby squad in the new year.

Rooney, England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer, will officially become a Rams player at the start of January.

Osman believes the 34-year-old, a former team-mate of his at Everton and for England, can make a real impact at Pride Park.

He said: “It’s a great acquisition in terms of not only his quality on the pitch but what he can bring to the youngsters coming through and the first-team players too.

“His football brain is well worth tapping in to because of what he’s achieved as a player.

“Wayne has a lot of football knowledge and it can be a real benefit for the club.”