Bad news for Stephen Warnock? Derby County starlet Max Lowe makes bold claim about next season

Stephen Warnock

Ex-Leeds United captain Stephen Warnock's place in the Derby County squad could be under threat as highly-rated prospect Max Lowe believes he will get a first-team chance under Paul Clement.

Highly-rated Derby County prospect Max Lowe has told thefa.com that a regular spot in the Rams first-team is within his grasp and believes Paul Clement will give him a chance.

The 18-year-old has been a permanent fixture in the Derby and England youth team over the past few years and has long been expected to follow the likes of Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes into the Rams’ senior side.

Although it could be argued next season maybe a year too soon for him, he believes he has an opportunity under new head coach Clement to make his mark in the Championship.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest year of my career so far. I have to prove that I’m ready and good enough to be involved within the first-team," he told TheFA.com. "From what I’ve been told, Paul Clement is going to give us younger lads a chance to prove that, so it’s all down to me really.

“Will Hughes is someone for me to take inspiration from and he is brilliant with us younger lads. He has a good relationship with us and looking up to him, it’s something that is not that far out of my hands and I have belief in myself that I can do it too.

“He has told me that it’s up to me and I just have to play football and it will come. I just need to be consistent in every game, defend first and when I’m training with the first-team I need to be confident.”

Can Max Lowe break into the Derby side next season?

The Rams will once again be one of the favourites to win promotion to the Premier League when the 2015/16 season kicks off after coming so close over the past two seasons.

Experienced players such as Darren Bent and Alex Pearce have already arrived at the club ahead of the new season, and the Derby Telegraph are reporting that the likes of Andreas Weimann and Tom Ince could join them.

At left-back, there is good competition between Craig Forsyth and Stephen Warnock but neither showed enough quality in the back end of last season to warrant a definite place in Clement’s side for next season.

Warnock, who signed from Leeds United in January, was expected to oust Forsyth and become first choice but, following a number of poor performances, it never happened. In fact, on the last day of the season, he was substituted after half-an-hour in the match against Reading after being initially asked to play in the defensive midfield role.

Forsyth, who has been an ever-present for the Rams over the past two seasons, looks likely to keep his place in the Derby team, but the emergence of Lowe could spell trouble for Warnock's future at the club.

Nevertheless, it may still be a season too early for Lowe, especially given the pressure and his lack of exposure in the first-team up to now, but under a new head coach, who is renowned for training young players, it’s not entirely impossible.

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