McClaren say he’s delighted with the current state of the club’s youth system and has suggested that it’s down a drive to improve on a key area from last season.
“I am absolutely delighted with the under-21s, absolutely delighted. We didn't really have anything underneath the first team last season,” said McClaren.
“We released a lot of players and Chris Evans (head of football operations) and the scouts went out into the market. Not only did they focus on the first team but also on younger players for underneath the first team.”
The youth system is vital at any club because it gives the manager and the first team a sustainable supply line of talent.
New and exciting foreign players can be imported, but it’s the youth team which provides the sustainability at a club and enables a team to retain their identity in terms of what it means to represent a side.
A strong youth system for Derby is also important for Financial Fair Play reasons, because it reduces the need for the club to go out and splash the cash in the transfer market.
It’s unlikely that McClaren will draft in new youngsters over the rest of the season because the pressure is on the Rams to protect their position in the top six before the pressure of the play-offs kicks in.