Mark O’Brien signs 4 year contract with Derby
Republic of Ireland under-19 defender Mark O’Brien has been handed a four year contract extension by Derby County.
The 18 year old centre back has played in all of Derby’s Championship games this season, as well as lining out for the Rams in the Carling Cup. O’Brien has amazingly broken into the first team, despite suffering an ankle injury as well as undergoing heart surgery in the past twenty-four months.
“The last few weeks have been more than I ever expected,” O’Brien told the club’s website. “I went into this season looking at it as a clean slate for me after two frustrating years. My main target this year was to progress as a player, but things have happened at a much faster pace than I expected or even imagined.
“I still had a few years on my contract so when the manager talked to me about a new deal I was literally speechless. I can’t explain how good it feels and I would have signed it there and then. It is nice the manager has a lot a faith in me, he must have by giving me a new contract, especially as I’m a youngster just breaking into the team. As the years go on I hope I can progress and I want to fulfil my potential here at Derby, who are prepared to give youth a chance.
“The last six weeks have been amazing, I’ve been playing 90 minutes every week and I’ve loved every minute. I feel I am still easing my way into the team and growing in confidence with every game, so I don’t think I’ve got my feet under the table just yet and I know there are players with more experience than me waiting to come back. I am taking each game as it comes and I know there are players with hundreds of games under their belt itching to start too.
“All I can do is keep playing well and stay in the manager’s eye. “If he goes with experience over me, I won’t be walking around the place sulking. I will keep working hard, keep my head down and look to give the Gaffer a selection problem by performing well in training. We’ve started the season better than anyone expected and although results haven’t gone our way in the last few games, we’ve had chances to win both of them and we’re all remaining positive.”
Derby County currently sit fifth in the Championship table after four wins from six games. Manager Nigel Clough has shown his faith in one of the key players to that great league start by offering him a new contract.
“In the last two-and-a-half years Mark has had to overcome some challenging hurdles to get where he is today, but throughout that time his attitude has been exemplary and it has been incredibly rewarding to see him fit, healthy and playing football,” Clough told the club’s official website. “He has been playing well and he deserves his new contract. He has taken his chance because of the injuries in the central defensive position and shown to everyone that he is an honest, brave and committed player who will put his head where some players wouldn’t even put their feet.”