Rams show International Class
Derby County are riding high at the top of the Championship, and the form of some their players are earning them international recognition. This week six Rams players were involved in international duty, and Rams coach Billy Davies was proud to have them representing their countries and believes others can press their claims for recognition in the future.
With Stephen Pearson and Jay McEveley playing for Scotland B against Finland, and Gary Teale, who has been part of the senior team's get-together in the past few days. Add to that Giles Barnes who played and scored for England Under-19s against Poland, Arturo Lupoli was with Italy's Under-21s and Lewin Nyatanga, who won his ninth full cap for Wales in a goalless draw against Northern Ireland in Belfast.
Davies feels others in his promotion-chasing team are developing nicely and have the ability to catch the eye of international selectors in time. Former Manchester United midfielder David Jones is being courted by Wales, who can also play for England but has yet to decide where his international future lies.
Davies believes another one of his midfield players, Bob Malcolm, can force his way into the Scotland set-up once the 25-year-old is firing on all cylinders. Davies said: "At his age, Bob Malcolm should be looking to perform week in, week out for Derby County, get himself fully fit and put in displays that can earn him recognition at international level.'
'Bob made a good start for us on his debut at Wolves but picked up a nasty ankle injury and is playing catch-up. He needs a good pre-season under his belt.
'If we want to be a side with a good reputation, then we want players to do well for Derby and go on to the international stage. If we are successful at club level then international recognition will come along.
'Given the age of some of our players, the challenge is there to push them forward.
'It's great for the club to have players on international duty. It means the club must be doing something right and I am delighted for the players. Hopefully, others will follow.
'Dean Leacock has been sensational since he has been here and Stephen Bywater has been fantastic. There are some unsung heroes and one or two people may take a look.' Both players have international experience, Bywater has won six England Under-21 caps earlier in his career, and Leacock has represented England at Under-18, 19 and 20 levels.