When Eiran Cashin’s name was printed in the starting eleven section of Derby County’s team sheet for the first time ahead of their momentous fixture against Peterborough in February, there were quiet whispers of excitement running through the stands at Pride Park.
Seven games on, the centre-half has transcended even the wildest expectations made of him by the harshest of fans and transitioned into a staple name in the Rams backline.
The 20-year-old boasts a maturity and calmness way beyond his years and, without a shadow of a doubt, will one day leave behind his boyhood club as an icon.
That is only if the club’s never-ending takeover fiasco is finalised before the season's conclusion to allow Cashin’s contract to be extended before its expiry in June.
A colossus is born
The centre-back role has developed in the modern age into being good with the ball at the feet, but the young Ram has proved there is still room for pantomime villains on the pitch.
He entered the stage in December 2021, announcing himself to the home fans with a barbaric and merciless stoppage-time challenge on former Ram, Matt Clarke.
Cashin has since transitioned into a commanding presence in the heart of the Derby backline, bullying and degrading attackers with devastating effect.
Already an immense leader with a vocal voice on the pitch, the 20-year-old is in great hands under England’s greatest ever player, to flourish and become one of the very best.
The king of stats
Standing at only 5’11, the Irishman has proved that talent outshines stature. The numbers that Cashin has averaged in his maiden season are seriously impressive.
Across his last seven appearances for the club, Cashin has boasted a higher aerial and ground duel win rate than the statistically best centre-back in the league, Tosin Adarabioyo.
Cashin's potential is undeniable as his interceptions and tackles per game averages are 2% higher than Adarabioyo’s, however, the pair share an almost identical passing accuracy percentage.
His spectacular club form has been rewarded with a first international call up to the U21 Republic of Ireland squad, however, the player will no doubt already have one eye set on the senior team.
To be expected
The Irish Goliath's astronomical rise in prominence has come as no surprise to any Derby County fan who has kept a keen eye on the youth teams.
It was in the 2018/19 season that his bloodlust and fearless attitude came to light, in which he played a crucial role in captaining the U18s to the Premier League title. Appearing 26 times and scoring five times.
His aura was rapidly building around the place. The next step for young Cashin was the U19 UEFA Youth League the following year.
He played all six of Derby's fixtures in the competition, even scoring in the Rams breathtaking 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the playoff round.
Morris had a vision of bridging the gap between the youth team and the first team, and Cashin is the latest lucrative talent to emerge from the self-efficient system.
Heir to the throne
A credible and rock-hard centre back is something that had previously eluded Derby throughout the years, Lewin Nyatanga the only major name that made his way through the youth ranks.
Nyatanga went on to play 63 times for the Rams, and earn 34 caps for his native Wales, however with all due respect, it is obvious to the naked eye that young Cashin will go onto much greater things in the game.