Young midfielder Darren Robinson is determined to ensure he benefits from the raft of experience he has gained from his first year at Derby County.

The Northern Ireland youth international joined the Rams’ Academy last summer on a two-year scholarship agreement from NIFL Premiership side Dungannon Swifts.

The 2021/22 campaign proved to be a challenging one for Derby owing to a 21-point deduction and spending most of the season, which ended in relegation to League One, in administration - but the knock effect meant several Academy players were handed a chance to shine at senior level.

Robinson initially started the season with Darren Robinson’s Under-18s but, as the season unfolded, he quickly made the step up to the Under-23s squad under the watchful eye of Pat Lyons.

His performances saw him rewarded with regular training sessions alongside Wayne Rooney’s first team squad and he was named on the bench for the 2-0 home win over Sheffield United in January.

He eventually made his first team bow as a second half substitute at Pride Park Stadium against Bristol City in April, while he was also named as the Rams’ Scholar of the Year at the club’s annual End of Season Awards event in early May to round off an impressive first year.

Robinson, who is 17, knows it is important to not rest on his laurels and he wants to maintain his progress next season when he reports back for pre-season training.

He is currently part of a Northern Ireland training camp at St George’s Park, where national team boss Ian Baraclough is assessing several of the country’s promising young players as he plots the long-term future for Northern Irish football.

“My first year has gone well, especially with being the Scholar of the Year and making my debut for the first team,” Robinson told RamsTV earlier this month. “I am happy with how the year has gone, but I know I need to keep working hard moving forward.

“At the start of the season, joining as a first-year scholar, I was with the Under-18s and things were going well. I didn’t expect things to go as well as they have for me.

“I managed to get a few chances in the Under-23s and then trained with the first team, so it was a goal achieved on a personal basis.

“When I come back for pre-season, I know I need to keep working hard and make sure I hit the ground running and impress with my performances.”

He added: “The experiences I’ve had this year have been brilliant and when I did make my first appearance for the first-team, my family were there and that was fantastic for me and them.”

Robinson, who was capped by Northern Ireland at Under-19 level during the season, racked up 21 league appearances for the Under-18s and Under-23s - as well as several cup outings.

Upon winning the Scholar of the Year accolade, he was quick to pay tribute to everyone at the club for helping him to settle in his new surroundings after moving over from Northern Ireland.

He said: “I was pleased and honoured to win the award. I would like to like the staff and my team-mates for making me feel so welcome at the club in my first year here.”