Eiran Cashin was delighted to play a key role in Derby County’s 2-0 pre-season friendly victory at Notts County on Sunday afternoon.
The 19-year-old centre-back, who concluded 2020/21 campaign with Wayne Rooney’s first-team squad and was an unused substitute on a handful of occasions, played the full 90 minutes at Meadow Lane and put in an impressive display.
Not only did he produce a solid performance at the back, but he also headed home Derby’s opening goal just before half-time from Louie Sibley’s corner.
The Republic of Ireland youth international, who was part of the Rams’ 2018/19 Under-18 Premier League title-winning side, rose highest at the far post to power Derby in front - before Tom Lawrence rounded the scoring off late on from the penalty spot.
Derby were roared on by over 1,300 travelling fans across in the East Midlands in what was their final pre-season fixture ahead of the 2021/22 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Speaking to RamsTV after the final whistle, Cashin said: “It was an unreal experience.
“I have never experienced anything like that to be honest. The only way I knew I had scored was because I heard the fans celebrating so it was a great experience and nice to play in front of them.
“It’s been a good day. I really enjoyed it out there. It was good to just start and get some senior minutes and obviously it was nice to get the goal - that is always a bonus.
“More importantly, we kept a clean sheet and that is always nice as a defender. There are a lot of positives to come from today, but things to learn from as well.
“To get a clean sheet, on any day, is the best thing. Blocks and tackles and headers; that is me as a defender. The scoring is a bonus, I’m not too bothered about that!
“Having Craig Forsyth beside was really helpful because he is a senior player, experienced and so calm. He helped me massively today.”
On Derby’s performance, Cashin added: “I thought in the first half we played well, kept the ball with some one and two touch stuff and kept it simple.
“We dominated possession most of the time, but in the second half they had a bit of a spell. I thought we dealt with it well; there were some good blocks, saves and headers which were important. That is what we are going to have to do if we want to win and get clean sheets.”
The Academy graduate is keen to build on his own positive end to last season and aim to impress Rooney moving forward.
He suffered a thigh strain early in pre-season, which was a setback, and he’s determined to grasp any opportunity to impress with both hands – whether that is in the first-team set-up or in action for Derby’s Under-23s.
“Pre-season has been really good, there have been ups and downs,” Cashin said. “I have had a few injuries, that has been disappointing because earlier on in pre-season I was in and around the squad.
“I had a bit of a thigh strain, so I had to deal with that set-back. I am just happy to be back on the pitch now.”