Glick says Academy aims to be Midlands beacon
CHIEF executive Tom Glick says the aim of Derby County's Academy is to become the academy of choice in the Midlands.
The Academy's reputation has blossomed this season as a number of young players have progressed from the youth team to the first team.
Four Academy products were on the pitch at the final whistle in the Championship clash against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Friday night.
Jeff Hendrick started the game and 19-year-olds Callum Ball and Mark O'Brien came off the bench, as did 15-year-old schoolboy Mason Bennett. Hendrick has featured in all 20 league games this season and O'Brien in 18.
O'Brien has only recently lost his place in the team following the return from injury of skipper Shaun Barker.
Ball has made five appearances as a substitute and Bennett has made two starts in his six appearances.
Sixteen-year-old midfielder Will Hughes has also been in the squad and made a brief appearance as a sub at Peterborough last month.
Injuries to senior players have speeded up the progress of a number of the youngsters but manager Nigel Clough has still shown plenty of faith in them.
The Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) is set to be introduced in English football next season with criticism that it will benefit the big clubs.
Fixed compensation packages will replace the current tribunal system which dictates the size of fees when clubs cannot agree a transfer for home-grown young players.
EPPP will lead to the introduction of a four-tier academy system ranging from category one "super academies" down to category four status.
The new programme will also see the end of the 90-minute rule, which currently states an academy player must live within an hour-and-a-half's drive of the club they play for.
Despite concerns within a number of Football League clubs, Derby are confident they will compete successfully in the new set-up.
"We are already in a strong position to continue to attract young players," said Glick.
"The way we are going about things and the people we have involved at the Academy puts us in a strong position to retain the young players we want to.
"We will be extra vigilant on the retention side, we will be aggressive as we always are on the recruitment side and ultimately look to be the academy of choice in the Midlands. That would be the model – let's be the academy young players want to go to."
Clough believes Derby could reach the stage in a few years times where a third of the first-team squad has come through the Academy.
"That would be a brilliant achievement," he said.
Academy manager, Darren Wassall, added: "We have a blueprint to try to produce players for the first team and we have the support and help of two crucial people in manager Nigel Clough and Tom Glick, the chief executive.
"We have shown young players that progressing to the first team is not just a pipedream, it can be a reality."