Danny Maye was full of praise for his Derby County Under-18s side following a free-scoring first half display in their 6-1 home win against Sunderland in the Under-18 Premier League - North.

The Rams found themselves leading 6-0 up before the half an hour mark at Moor Farm Training Ground, with Republic of Ireland youth international Niall McAndrew scoring a hat-trick.

Maye commended McAndrew’s performances in recent weeks but was quick to share his appreciation for the rest of his squad.

“Niall’s been excellent, as a lot of lads have,” said Maye. “He has shown a real clinical edge, but what’s really impressive is how hard he works.

“He’s prepared to run beyond defenders, and he is often one that’s setting the press as a number ten.

“It’s his all-round game that really stands out, but I thought a number of lads had really good games.”

With his side heading into the half-time break 6-1 to the good, Maye revealed what was said to his players in the changing room.

He explained: “You have to tell them that they’ve done well, because they had done, and they knew it themselves.

“It’s more of a pre-briefing for the second half and thinking that we’re going into it at 0-0.

“We knew Sunderland were going to change things and come out a different team, that’s why you don’t often see a team win 6-1 in the first half and do the same in the second.”

Maye also admitted how pleased he was with some of the younger players from the Under-16s, who had been given more minutes on the pitch and a chance to impress.

“The lads that came on in the second half gave it a right go and fit into our style of play really well,” he said.

“It was great to get some of the young lads some valuable minutes with the Under-18s.”

The Rams’ dominant display saw them move up to third place in the Under-18 Premier League - North table, overtaking Liverpool and Wolves in the process.

Maye’s side will look to continue their strong form when they host Everton next at Moor Farm on Saturday 20th April (12pm kick-off).

Words: Joe Bird.