Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick has spoken of his delight at the amount of playing time has had this season, after making his 36th appearance of the campaign in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace.
The former Apprentice has been a regular fixture in Nigel Clough’s squad recently and has featured in 35 out of 39 Championship games this season.
The Irish Under 21-international netted his first senior career goal in the side’s 2-1 victory over rivals Nottingham Forest in September.
After making his full debut early in the season 20-year-old Hendrick admits he has come a long way this year.
He told the Club’s website: “I started the year in pre-season not expecting to play this much, I was just hoping to be in and around the squad.”
“My target at the start of the season was just to get involved with the first-team, but I got my chance, played a run of games and I am just happy trying to play in as many games I can.”
“My form has gone up and down a bit, like I play well then maybe not so well a couple of games later. But it is good to be getting the games at this age, and hopefully it can keep going that way.”
“As you can see, we are playing a lot better than last year and we are picking up points, perhaps where we wouldn’t have last season and that is a good sign.”
Meanwhile, Hendrick reserved special praise for 23-year-old striker Theo Robinson, who netted his eleventh goal of the season on Saturday.
He added: “He has been doing very well for us recently; there is a lot of energy from him up-front.”
“He will run the ball down the channel; he can hold it up and run at players. He has been scoring a lot of goals recently which is exactly what you want from your strikers.”