Derby youngster Mark O'Brien has earned a new four-year contract as a result of his impressive early-season contribution.

The 18-year-old centre-back has featured in all six of County's opening Championship matches, starting five alongside stand-in skipper Jason Shackell following injuries to a handful of defenders including Russell Anderson.

"I'm delighted and lost for words to be honest that the club has offered me the opportunity to remain a Derby County player for the long-term," O'Brien told the club's official website.

"The last month or so has been an absolute dream. I've had so many highs during the last few weeks.

"It's been a huge learning curve for me in the early stages of my career and I'm really happy I've been presented the opportunity to extend my career at Derby."

O`Brien, a Republic of Ireland youth international, only signed professional forms over the summer but has now tied down his future at Pride Park until 2015.

He made his Derby debut as a 16-year-old substitute on the final day of the 2008/09 season, but heart surgery ruled him out for the entire 2009/10 campaign before an ankle operation left him a mere spectator for the majority of last term.

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