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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Teenager Nyatanga pens Derby deal
Lewin Nyatanga
It's up to me to repay that faith by proving I am worthy of a place in the senior side
Lewin Nyatanga
Lewin Nyatanga has celebrated his 17th birthday by signing his first professional deal with Derby County.

The 6ft 2in centre-back, who this week became the youngest player to captain Wales Under-21s, has signed a two-year contract at Pride Park.

"To captain an international side and sign a professional contract with the Rams has made it an incredible few days for me," said Nyatanga.

Lionel Ainsworth and Giles Barnes have also stepped up from Derby's Academy.

Wales Under-21 manager Brian Flynn has described Nyatanga as a "special" player, and had no hesitation in making his captain in the second half of this week's friendly with Malta.

Nyatanga, who qualifies for Wales though his Newport-born grandmother, became Wales' youngest Under-21 player at 16 years and 174 days when he came on against Germany in February.

And Flynn said: "It is clear for everyone to see that he has a chance of making it.

"Potential is a huge word - it is realising it that is important."

Nyatanga added: "Brian Flynn showed real faith in me and gave me the confidence to believe in myself.

"It's the same at Derby - they believe in me and now it's up to me to repay that faith by proving I am worthy of a place in the senior side."


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