A 16 year old Loughborough College student selected to play for Derby County’s first team has earned praise from Manager Gary Rowett – and been handed his first professional contract.
Max Bird started for the Championship club in their Carabao Cup game against Barnsley and played for 80 minutes, with Rowett describing the young player as having shown “excellent composure”.
The first year apprentice, who studies with Loughborough College on the elite football programme, turned 17 a few days after the game and his contract with the Rams will keep him at the club until at least 2020.
“Max has already been training with the U21s and the U23s but for him to get the first team call up was amazing – and then the contract... He really is excelling,” said Dan White, Loughborough College football coordinator and tutor.
“With us young players like Max get the chance to have a great education alongside the freedom to develop their football. We’ve worked with Derby for years and with Leicester City, Birmingham, Lincoln, Rotherham and, more recently, Chesterfield. We’ve adapted Max’s education to enable him to train permanently with the U23s – and that flexibility is the strength of our programme, it suits the demands of the professional game.“
Midfielder Max was introduced to the Under-23 side in January and featured 31 times for the Under-18 and 23 teams last season prior to starting his apprenticeship.
“We know what potential he has got,” said manager Gary Rowett. “He did really well against Barnsley.
“We feel, physically for the Championship, that he is little off where we need him to be, but he has only just turned 17 and you are not going to get those elements straight away.
“What he has shown is that he has got the mentality and the capability to cope with the pressure of having the ball.
“I see him, as does the Academy, as someone who has got a big future ahead of him at the club.”
Elizabeth Udall, Communications Consultant:
Tel: 07515 852690