Lewis Bourne was delighted with Derby County Under-18s’ excellent 5-1 home victory against Liverpool to finish the 2023/24 season in style.

A hat-trick from Justin Oguntolu, alongside goals from Lennon Wheeldon and Marcel Tola, meant Danny Maye’s side finished the Under-18 Premier League - North in fourth place.

Bourne, who holds the position of Under-18 Individual Player Development Coach, was delighted with the players’ attitude in Derbyshire heat at Moor Farm.

He said: “The lads have ended the season brilliantly. The press, as well as the build-up, and the behaviours throughout the game, especially on a hot day like today, is hard to do and I thought they did it brilliantly.

“The attitude and application to this new press that Danny Maye has bought in was excellent.”

The fourth-place finish is the Under-18s’ joint highest since the 2019/20 season, something which the club, staff and players can take real pride in.

“It’s the best finish in a while, and that shows the direction the club is going in,” Bourne said.

“Having a sturdy, consistent group of Under-18s, while still giving players the opportunity to play up with the Under-21s, is great for everyone.

“With the first team back in the Championship, the whole club is on the up. Now everything’s settled, I think you’ll start to see all our teams competing and there’ll be improvements across the board.”

Bourne says the Rams’ youngster will enjoy some well-deserved time off, before hitting the ground running in pre-season.

He said: “We’ll all enjoy the break now. Some of the lads are going away on a golf holiday. They’ll enjoy the time off but be ready to hit the ground running.

“They’ll have a tough pre-season programme to follow, the demands will be higher than ever before, and the boys know that.”

Words: Will Stanier.