Derby County manager Phillip Cocu praised Max Bird on RamsTV after the youngster put in another excellent showing in the 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.
The Rams had to settle for a point against the Whites in an entertaining encounter.
Wayne Rooney’s Panenka penalty put Derby ahead. The Championship’s leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, however, showed his class with a well-taken equaliser.
Derby matched third-placed Fulham all the way. Speaking to RamsTV, Cocu reserved praise for Bird after his Man of the Match performance.
He had a very good game and showed his importance for the team. His link-up, passing and work for the team is very important. I think in a lot of games now he has shown a consistent performance and that is why he stays in the team.
Max Bird has shown incredible progression over the past few months.
The 19-year-old started the 1-0 win over Scunthorpe United in the Carabao Cup back in August. That day, he looked raw and short on confidence.
But with Krystian Bielik suffering a season-ending injury, Bird has made the holding midfield spot his own with several excellent displays since the festive period.
Bird topped Derby’s passing charts with an 87.5% accuracy rate. Defensively he made two tackles and harried Fulham’s creative players out of possession.
Few would have expected Bird to be the standout from Derby’s thriving academy this season. Now, he looks a cert for the club’s Young Player of the Year award.