Richard Keogh says he told his Derby County teammates in the aftermath of the Rams’ 2-1 loss to Aston Villa in the playoff final that defeat will make them stronger in the future, Derby Telegraph report.
Having been there before, seeing young Jayden (Bogle) in tears, my focus was to get round the lads. I was telling them: ‘Yes, it hurts, but you will come back stronger, and sometimes you have to deal with these setbacks in order to become a better player’. I told them to hold their heads up high, because they have been great this season.
After a memorable campaign, Derby fell at the final hurdle in their bid for promotion. Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn put Villa in control before they held off a fighting Derby comeback.
The Rams, buoyed by their goal from Jack Marriott, piled the pressure on Villa for the final 20 minutes. The momentum was with Frank Lampard’s men, but they couldn’t find that piece of luck when it mattered.
How Richard Keogh has become an inspirational figure at Derby County:
The defeat in the 2014 playoff final to Queens Park Rangers hit Keogh hard. It was the Republic of Ireland international’s error in injury time which gifted Bobby Zamora the chance to score the winner.
This time around, Keogh took on a different role as he comforted and supported his younger teammates. Keogh, who turns 33 in August, has grown into an inspirational figure at Pride Park.
Derby missed out on the prize of Premier League football, but the future still remains bright for the Rams. Youngster Jayden Bogle has shown there is now a clear path to the first-team for academy graduates, and Derby have some exciting players coming through.
With several senior players out of contract this summer, there will be voids to fill for Derby’s young guns. Frank Lampard is a big believer in developing the youth, therefore players such as Luke Thomas, Max Bird and Louie Sibley could all feature at some point next term.