A Northern Ireland teenager who is rated highly by Wayne Rooney is making swift inroads at Derby County after being named on the Rams bench yesterday.
Darren Robinson, who only turned 17 last month, didn’t feature in the 2-0 win over Sheffield United, a result that eased the East Midlands club off the foot of the Championship table.
But the fact the young midfielder has muscled his way into Rooney’s matchday thoughts just seven months after moving to England augurs well for his future at Pride Park.
Robinson, who made the switch to Derby from Dungannon Swifts in June, had the likes of former Galatasaray and Celtic striker Colin Kazim-Richards for company on the County bench.
Former Manchester United players Ravel Morrison and Tom Lawrence, who bagged a brace, were also part of Rooney’s 18-man panel.
Robinson’s elevation to the senior set-up is the latest sign of progress for the talented youngster who has starred for Derby’s U23 and U18 teams this season as well as training with the first team squad.
Speaking after a recent 1-1 draw with Manchester United U23s, the County Armagh teenager said it had been a “great experience” being around the senior set-up.
“It’s sharper and quicker and it’s been a great experience,” he said. “There are a lot of experienced heads in there, so it’s been great for me.
“I just want to keep working hard in training, try to kick on and impress.”
Robinson signed a three year deal with Derby last summer after leaving Dungannon where he made his Irish League debut on the final day of the 2020/21 season.
Dixie Robinson, head of youth development at Dungannon, said last year that the teenager had the talent and mindset to make the most of his opportunity in cross-channel football.
“Technically, Darren is a very good young player but he also works extremely hard,” he said. “He has a wonderful attitude that can help him go a long way in the game.”