Former Derby County midfielder Bradley Johnson has returned to the club to take up a coaching role in the Academy.

Johnson, who is 36, will assist the Under-21s’ coaching staff as a player-coach.

As well as taking on a coaching position as part of the Academy staff, Johnson will be eligible to feature for the Under-21s as an overage player in their Premier League 2 campaign.

The move will see Johnson not only begin his coaching journey on a full-time basis but also be in a position to contribute to the development of the Rams’ young players both on and off the field.

Johnson’s playing career has seen him record almost 700 appearances in club football, including just under 600 in league competition.

His time with Derby spanned across four seasons between 2015 and 2019 after signing from Norwich City and he recorded 140 appearances for the club in the process, as well as scoring 14 goals.

He was most recently contracted as a player with MK Dons during the 2022/23 season in League One and oversaw first-team matters for a Carabao Cup tie against then Premier League side Leicester City in December 2022 on an interim basis.

Academy Manager Matt Hale said: “We’re pleased to welcome Bradley back to Derby County in this new role within the Academy.

“As an experienced player across both the Premier League and EFL throughout his career, Bradley has significant experience that he can pass on to our Academy players, primarily the Under-21s, on a daily basis.

“This can come in many different ways: by driving standards, setting an example every single day or simply having discussions with the players both in training and match situations. He also has a clear understanding of what is required and expected as a player to play for Derby County at first-team level.

“He has experienced many scenarios and situations in his long career, played in big matches and been part of high-pressure moments so to have him passing on the knowledge he has built up from a players’ perspective will be invaluable. To have someone that has played almost 700 senior games alongside the players on a daily basis in this role will only be beneficial to everyone.”