Phillip Cocu says he’s delighted that Jason Knight and Morgan Whittaker have committed their long-term futures to Derby County.
The Academy graduates this week put pen-to-paper on new deals which will run until the summer of 2023.
Knight and Whittaker, as well as the likes of Louie Sibley, Max Bird and Lee Buchanan, have stepped up from last season’s title-winning Under-18 squad and into the first-team picture under Cocu.
Cocu believes the duo have shown progression in their game since the start of the campaign and he says their eagerness to learn has also impressed him.
Republic of Ireland Under-21 international midfielder Knight has made 18 appearances in all competitions, whilst England Under-19 forward Whittaker has appeared on 13 occasions.
Speaking to RamsTV about the pair, Cocu said: “Both players have done very well.
“From the start of pre-season they have trained with the first-team and they have made a good impression.
“They are eager to learn, are hard workers, good quality players and they have progressed well.
“That is the most important part and what you want to see, the progression.”
Cocu says he’s pleased that Knight and Whittaker want to be part of the Rams’ plans for the future.
The Dutchman, who took over as Derby’s manager last summer on a four-year deal, has belief and a track record in the development of youngsters.
He said: “Now they have signed new contracts to keep them here for a longer period, there are things that we want to achieve at the club and they want to be part of the plans as well.
“That is something very positive and there are a few other young players doing well so maybe in the near future more will follow.”
The duo are two of as many as nine recent Academy graduates to have played first-team football for the Rams this season, while a number of up-and-coming youngsters have also been in-and-around the squad.