Jake Buxton has been appointed as Derby County’s Lead Under-21 coach.

Buxton spent the majority of the 2022/23 season in charge of the Rams’ Under-18s after briefly working on the first team staff at the start of the campaign prior to Paul Warne’s appointment as Head Coach.

The 38-year-old former Rams defender will take charge of the Under-21s after previously working as assistant for the age group during the 2021/22 season.

Academy Manager Matt Hale said: “We carried out an extensive process to find the right candidate who will not only be an outstanding coach but also an outstanding person and cultural fit.

“I am delighted that Jake has been appointed as our Lead Under-21 Coach with immediate effect. We ran a highly professional process as you would expect and the numerous candidates we interviewed were all of a really strong calibre and very experienced within the Professional Development Phase.

“Jake has so much experience and knowledge of the professional game as well as the Derby County culture. Throughout the interview process he brought to life his vision for the Under-21s programme which was extremely impressive.

“His infectious personality combined with his professional etiquette made him the stand-out candidate and has quite rightly earnt the opportunity to take this role and be tasked with leading our Under-21 group.”

As a player, Buxton enjoyed seven years with Derby after arriving from Burton Albion in the summer of 2009.

He made 159 appearances for the Rams and scored on 13 occasions, including a memorable late winner at home to local rivals Nottingham Forest in March 2012.

The popular central defender was also a key part of the Derby side that reached the 2014 Play-Off Final.

Buxton, who began his career at Mansfield Town, recorded just over 500 professional appearances in his career, scoring on 20 occasions.

He had a brief spell as Burton’s manager during the 2020/21 season before returning to the Rams’ Academy on a full-time basis ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.