JORDAN Brown is one of the latest exciting crop of young Derby County players to watch out for this term.
The former Cheadle SMU junior has been catching the eye after completing a Derby Academy scholarship, after recovering from the heartbreak of being released by Stoke City as a schoolboy.
The Potters didn’t consider him good enough to make the grade at Football League level.
But the former Cheadle High School student, from Draycott, has not looked back since accepting an opportunity to join the Derby academy, initially as a striker, but since transformed into a highly promising defender or midfield player.
Eighteen-year-old Jordan is benefiting from Rams chairman Mel Morris and first team manager Phil Cocu’s belief in nurturing youngsters to become the Championship club’s stars of the future.
Youngsters Lee Buchanan, Jason Knight, Louie Sibley and Morgan Whittaker have all been handed senior debuts this term, having initially caught the eye under Cocu’s predecessor Frank Lampard, ahead of the former England player’s move to Chelsea as team boss.
First year professional Jordan, together with midfielder Connor Dixon and defender Callum Minkley, are the latest academy products tipped to take a step up to the Derby senior squad, having established themselves with the U23s.
They were a part of the U18s that won their Premier League age group last season and in doing to gained a place in the UEFA Youth League, in which Derby have made an immediate impact.
The versatile Jordan made 24 appearances for the U18s last season, plus five appearances for the U23s.
Derby U23’s coach Craig Short likens Jordan to former Manchester United star Dennis Irwin.
He said:” He [Jordan] can do a job as a holding midfielder, he’s played centre-back, he’s played right back.
“He’s technically very good and he’s a really good lad.
“We’re lucky that we’ve got some really, really good lads who have been taught well at lower age groups, and we get the benefit.
“Hopefully, we can just push them on to the next bit. We want to see them get a career in the game,” added the former Derby, Notts County, Everton, Blackburn Rovers abd Sheffield United central defender.
The Young Rams have won all three games to date in the UEFA Youth League, beating Minsk 2-0 away and 7-2 at home, and IA 2-1 away with the return home leg coming up on November 27. Jordan has played in all three.
Jordan has been an ever-present for the Derby U23s this season and says he is learning things from first team players who occasionally drop down to the squad – including the important issue of game management.
He said: “One of the targets I set myself at the start of the season was play as much games for the U23s as I can.
“Hopefully, I can keep some consistency and keep playing, and working hard and see how many games I can play to the end of the season.”