Festy Ebosele claims he turned down bigger clubs to sign for Derby County in order to have a better chance of progress, the Irish Sun report.
The talented midfielder joined the Rams from Irish club Bray Wanderers 12 months ago. At 16, he linked up with the Derby U18 squad last term and helped the team win the U18 Premier League title.
Ebosele is regarded as one of Derby’s brightest prospects. According to the player, it seems they fended off interest from top-flight clubs to bring him to Pride Park.
I had a dilemma when there were some big clubs interested but they’re only big names. I decided to sign for Derby County because I think there’s a better chance to progress there.
Derby have an impressive recent history of producing young talent. Former England U21 international Will Hughes plays for Watford, while Jeff Hendrick is also a Premier League player with Burnley.
Ebosele can look at fellow Irishman Hendrick as inspiration for a path to future success. Both left Ireland for the Rams at an early age, while Hendrick also featured for the Irish youth sides.
Derby may have narrowly missed out on promotion over the past few years, but their academy certainly isn’t failing.
Jayden Bogle became a regular last season, starring in over 40 Championship games. The talented right-back could soon be joined by fellow academy stars Max Bird and Jason Knight in the first team.
Owner Mel Morris has openly shared his desire of wanting Derby to have several academy players in the first-team squad. Now, it seems the heavy investment and hard work is starting to really pay off.