It will come as no surprise to a lot of people that the big guns of English football – the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and others – have the best academies, but one club that may surprise neutrals with their youth setup is Derby County.
Derby’s academy officially opened its doors in 1997, at the same time that they moved to the Pride Park stadium, and since then they’ve produced some quality players.
But in more recent years, the academy – especially the under-18 setup – has reached new heights, and they became the champions of England for the 2018/19 season, fending off Liverpool on goal difference to win the U18 Premier League.
That team included current first-team players Jason Knight, Max Bird, Louie Sibley and other talents, so you can see why the setup is so highly regarded, and it led to them mixing it with Europe’s big boys in the UEFA Youth League last season, beating Borussia Dortmund before bowing out to Red Bull Salzburg.
Who are the ten best players to come through Derby’s youth system though? Let’s take a look and rank them from ten to one.