KIERON Freeman admitted he was pleased that his hard work had not gone unnoticed after signing a new three-year contract with Derby County, keeping him at the club until 2016.
The Wales under-21 international defender arrived at Pride Park last summer from fierce rivals Nottingham Forest – having also played for Notts County and Mansfield Town – and has become first-choice following an injury to first-choice right-back John Brayford.
Prior to Brayford’s injury, Freeman’s chances had been limited, but he had impressed manager Nigel Clough enough off the field to earn a new deal.
He said: “I’m really happy to sign and it’s nice to know the manager sees me as part of his future plans.
“I’ve not played loads of games, so it was reassuring to hear my hard work in training and the Under 21s has been recognised.
“I’m at a good club and having just had a little girl, the new contract is a nice bit of security for me and my family.”
The versatile 21-year-old has made 15 appearances in a Rams shirt, including starting each of the team’s last three matches, where his solid defensive displays have contributed to Nigel Clough’s side claiming three successive victories in the Championship for the first time this season.
And Freeman believes that a more “clinical” edge has helped the team.
He said: “Earlier in the season we lost games that we should have won, but now it’s coming back around.
“We’re not playing as well as we were, but we’re probably being more clinical.
“The team is doing well too and I’m really looking forward to trying to end the season on a high.”