Derby defender Valentin Gjokaj named in the Albania Under-21 squad for friendly against Macedonia

Nigel Clough: Gjokaj rewarded for his progression

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Derby defender Valentin Gjokaj has been named in the Albania Under-21 squad for their friendly against Macedonia next week.

The teenage centre-back, who was born in Switzerland, becomes the ninth Rams players to be recognised by his country ahead of next week's internationals.

Jeff Hendrick, Richard Keogh and Conor Sammon (Republic of Ireland), Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland), Theo Robinson (Jamaica), Mark O'Brien (Republic of Ireland Under-21s), Kieron Freeman (Wales Under-21s) and Mason Bennett (England Under-17s) have also been called up for international duty.

Derby manager Nigel Clough said: "We've had a huge amount of call-ups, which is fantastic for our players and the club.

"Val has progressed nicely since joining us in the summer and this is a nice reward for him."

Gjokaj joined the Rams from FC Luzern in Switzerland for an undisclosed fee in August.

The 19-year-old has made one first-team appearance, coming on as a late substitute in the 2-2 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day of the npower Championship campaign.

The majority of his action has come for Derby's development side, although he did have a loan spell at Carlisle during November and December where he made a single substitute appearance before returning to Pride Park.