Young full-back Michael Hoganson looks comfortable in his first senior start for Derby County
MICHAEL Hoganson did not look out of place in Derby County's first team, according to manager Nigel Clough.
The 19-year-old left-back was handed his first senior start in Saturday's goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Pride Park.
He came in for the suspended Gareth Roberts, who started a three-match ban for his red card in the away defeat by Hull City.
Clough believes Hoganson's performance showed the benefit of the young players training with the first team week in, week out.
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"Michael has trained with the first team since he came in from Newcastle at 18 in the summer," said Clough.
"Training with internationals like Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick, Conor Sammon and Jamie Ward can only help bring on the young players.
"Being a part of the first-team squad and training with the first team since pre-season is why we can put them out there.
"Michael did well and he didn't look out of place.
"He has a lovely left foot, as you saw. He plays great balls into the front man.
"He is only 19 and it was a big thing for him making his first start. We're pleased for him and he'll be delighted with a clean sheet.
"One of the advantages of having a small squad is that when players like Michael come into the side, they aren't strangers."
The average age of Derby's starting 11 against Wolves was 23. The average age of the 18 was 22 and there was not one player on duty who was older than 26.
"We have said all along that we will give them a chance," said Clough.
"We might struggle, like we did against Wolves at times, but we will get the benefit in the next week, the week after or next season.
"We are never going to know if the young players are going to be good enough if we don't look at them."