STEVE McClaren was so impressed by Dutch goalkeeper Kelle Roos he told the 21-year-old: “Don’t leave this training ground until you sign.”
Roos has joined the Rams from Conference side Nuneaton Town for an undisclosed fee after catching the eye during two days’ training.
Derby beat off fierce competition to land Roos and he has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal.
McClaren admits they nipped in quickly for the 6ft 5in keeper who had a trial at Liverpool earlier this month.
He has also trained with Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers while Crystal Palace, Queen’s Park Rangers and Bournemouth have watched him.
“Chris Evans (head of football operations) and Eric Steele (goalkeeping coach) have been keeping an eye on Kelle for a few weeks,”said McClaren. “He has been gaining a reputation at Nuneaton,”
“We got him in on Monday, he had a couple of days’ training and I said to him on Tuesday ‘don’t leave this training ground until you sign’.
“He’s a big goalkeeper at 6ft 5in and very good with his feet.
“He obviously needs work, but I think in Eric Steele we have got one of the best goalkeeping coaches in this country to help him along.
“I think that was a significant factor in signing Kelle and us getting ahead of quite a few clubs who wanted his signature.”
Roos started out at PSV Eindhoven before having spells with Willem II, Tilburg and NEC Nijmegen.
He moved to England in November and joined Nuneaton where he put in a string of impressive performances.
He kept a total of eight clean sheets and conceded just six goals in his 13 games for the non-League side.
Roos joins a well-stocked goalkeeping department at Derby.
Lee Grant is the number one and Adam Legzdins number two. Saul Deeney, Ross Atkins, Mats Morch and Ross Etheridge are the other keepers, although Morch and Etheridge are on loan at Gresley and Ilkeston, both to the end of the season.
The latest addition is seen as one for the future although he is training with the first-team and therefore challenging, according to McClaren.
“Absolutely, he is,” said McClaren. “At the moment, Lee Grant and Adam Legzdins have got little niggles. So who knows?
“Adam Legzdins is our number two at the moment and so we need him here. He is very important.
“As we have seen over recent weeks and months the bench is very important to us. It can make a difference. Adam could be called on at any moment and needs to be ready.”
Former Rams skipper and Dutch midfielder Robin van Der Laan has sent his best wishes to Roos via Twitter.
“I’m all for some Dutch flavour in the Derby County squad. Best wishes Kelle,” said van der Laan.
Nuneaton say Derby have agreed to take a full-strength side to Liberty Way for a pre-season friendly in the summer as part of the deal.
“Derby County coming to play us in pre-season will be one of the highlights of our preparations, even more so if they manage to secure promotion to the Premier League this season,” said Nuneaton chief executive Ian Neale, who believes Roos could go on and have a successful career.
“Not many English clubs knew much about him when he first signed for us, but this month he really has been in demand.
“Despite him only being at the club a short time Kelle will be missed. He has been a very popular member of the squad and has shown a first-class attitude and fitted in.
“Everyone at the club sends him their best wishes for the next stage of his journey.
“He has a every chance of having a brilliant career.”
Former Rams players striker Malcolm Christie and goalkeeper Les Green also played for the Nuneaton club.