Derby County's Duane Holmes realises international dream after earning two caps for USA

Duane Holmes in action for Derby County last season. PIC: Alex Livesey/Getty Images.
Duane Holmes in action for Derby County last season. PIC: Alex Livesey/Getty Images.
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Duane Holmes fulfilled a lifelong ambition as he earned his first international caps for the USA.

The Derby County midfielder was born in Columbus, Georgia before moving to Wakefield as a youngster.

Duane Holmes. PIC: Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

Duane Holmes. PIC: Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

As a professional, he had stints at Huddersfield Town and Scunthorpe United before moving to the Rams last summer.

His performances at Pride Park have not gone unnoticed this season, as he earned his place in the USA’s 23-man squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Holmes came off the bench last Wednesday as America were beaten 1-0 by Jamaica before playing in a 3-0 defeat to Venezuela on Sunday.

Holmes was also a substitute in Sunday’s clash, he was introduced with the USA already 3-0 down having been hit by Salomon Rondon’s brace and Jefferson Savarino’s strike before half-time

Duane Holmes in action for Derby County last season. PIC: Michael Regan/Getty Images.

Duane Holmes in action for Derby County last season. PIC: Michael Regan/Getty Images.

“It is a massive honour to play for my country and something I have always wanted to do,” said Holmes.

“I first spoke to an American journalist when I was 17 and I travelled from Leeds to Scotland to watch the men’s [USA] team play there.

“It has been an ambition of mine all my life, I would say, but that’s when it really kicked in that I could have this opportunity.”

After a heartbreaking end to the campaign with Derby County, who were beaten 2-1 by Premier League-bound Aston Villa in the SkyBet Championship play-off final at Wembley, Holmes is relishing being on the international stage.

“I have really enjoyed it. It has been a very new experience for me,” added the midfielder who made 32 appearances for Derby last season.

“I have never been on a camp at any age group. I am just embracing the challenge and loving getting to know people.”

The US begin the defence of their Gold Cup on Tuesday, June 18, against Guyana in Minnesota.

Games against Trinidad and Tobago and Panama will follow on June 22 and June 26 respectively.

The final of the competition will take place on Sunday, July 7 in Chicago.

The USA won the last Gold Cup in 2017, defeating Jamaica 2-1 in the final. America have won the tournament a total of six times.