Jason Knight wore the Derby captain's armband for the first time on Saturday as his side lost 1-0 to Rotherham.
The 19-year-old former Cabinteely midfielder was handed the responsibility as both David Marshall and Curtis Davies were unavailable.
"I think he deserves it,” said Derby manager Wayne Rooney in an interview with Rams TV.
"His attitude in training and his performances have been first-class. He deserved to wear the armband today. Jason is a fantastic player and he is doing really well for us."
Ireland international Knight said it was a "big honour for me to represent the club like that".
"It’s something I’ve tried to get from the start and hopefully I can keep it more often, but we need to worry about getting good results on the pitch first," he added.
"He (Rooney) just said 'Enjoy it and don’t do anything you don’t do otherwise', so I was just playing my normal game and trying to do my best. I need to keep doing that.”
Saturday's result leaves Derby second from bottom of the Championship on 19 points.
“It was very frustrating," Knight said. "We know we need to be better and we will be better, but we need to improve on the ball and off the ball as well.
"We didn’t do the basics right at all today and that’s something we pride ourselves on. We need to get back to that on Tuesday and Saturday."