Derby's Earnshaw insists he's improving

Derby striker Robert Earnshaw insists he is now three times the player he was at the start of the season - despite having spent most of the last seven months on the bench.

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Earnshaw joined Derby last summer for a club record £3.5million from Norwich where he had scored 27 goals in 47 appearances.

Yet despite such a superb goalscoring record, Earnshaw has failed to nail down a place in the Rams starting line-up, either under former boss Billy Davies or current manager Paul Jewell.

Yet a confident Earnshaw, who has scored just one goal for Derby this season, said: "I believe I'm twice, three times a better player than I was at the start of the season because I've learned so much.

"When you play against one of the best teams in Manchester United as we did on Saturday (losing 1-0) and you push them to the limit, that's a measure of where you are.

"I've been very pleased with my performances in all the games in which I've started, and I'm very glad I've not let myself down.

"But I've learned a hell of a lot, and in games such as the one against United and against Manchester City a couple of weeks ago, I've showed what I'm about.

"So I've not been disappointed with myself, and I've not left the pitch thinking 'maybe I could have done better'. I've done myself justice.

"I now need to try and play the rest of the season, to keep going and performing like I did against United and City. That's all I can do."

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