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Derby County: McLaren looks to bridge the gap with Calero

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 19, 2014

By Steve Nicholson

YOUNG GUNS GO FOR IT ... Derby County signing Ivan Calero

YOUNG GUNS GO FOR IT ... Derby County signing Ivan Calero

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SPANIARD Ivan Calero is the latest signing in Derby County's bid to bridge the gap between the youth team and the first team.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is earmarked as "one for the future" as head coach Steve McClaren bolsters the under-21 development squad.

Brazilian-born winger Alefes Santos, ex-Arsenal midfielder Alban Bunjaku and former Newcastle United goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell are other new arrivals who fall into the same category.

Calero, Mitchell and Santos are all 19, Bunjaku 20.

Derby have also been casting an eye over 19-year-old Argentine right-back Eros Medaglia, ex-Peterborough United striker Shaquille McDonald and Arinse Uade, a defender who came through the system at Arsenal. McDonald and Uade are 18.

Medaglia and Uade have left the club after finishing their trial spells.

McClaren has spoken of his aim to strengthen the under-21 squad for coach Lee Glover and make it more of a breeding ground for players to step up to the senior side.

Calero's neat footwork, turn of pace and composure on the ball caught the eye when he played for a young Rams team against Mickleover Sports last week.

McClaren, first-team coach Paul Simpson and head of football operations, Chris Evans, watched from the stand at the Raygar Stadium and were seen nodding their heads in approval.

The Spanish youth international has signed a two-year deal with the option of a further year.

He said on Twitter: "I'm very happy to be new Derby player. Can only say thanks for this oportunity."

Calero also featured briefly in the friendlies against Nuneaton Town and Northampton during his trial spell.

He progressed through the Atletico Madrid Academy and played for the club's B team. He has also represented Spain at under-17, 18, 19 and 20 levels.

"We are delighted to welcome Ivan to the club," said McClaren.

"He is a young player with an excellent pedigree and we are really pleased that he sees his future at Derby County.

"We are looking forward to working with him in order to help him develop at what is an important stage of his career."

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