Jack Marriott made his first start of the season last night, as a much-changed Derby side booked their place in the second round of the EFL Cup with a 1-0 win at Scunthorpe United.
The 24-year-old had to settle for a place on the bench for both of Derby’s opening two games in the Championship after picking up a thigh injury in pre-season – although he did make an appearance for the final ten minutes of the goalless draw with Swansea City at the weekend.
The striker joined Derby last summer after an outstanding season for League One side Peterborough United, where he scored 33 goals in 56 appearances in all competitions for the Posh.
The forward was an important player for Derby under Frank Lampard last season and will be determined to make an impact under new manager Phillip Cocu this term.
Marriott scored 13 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions for Derby last season, although he often had to settle for a place on the bench, with Lampard favouring the more experienced Martyn Waghorn up front.
However, the striker showed time and again that he is more than good enough to succeed in the Championship and he deserves to be the main striker at Pride Park this season.
Despite failing to hold down a regular place in the starting line-up and the fact that it was his first full season at Championship level, Marriott continued to make an impact for Derby last season and his hard work on the pitch saw him become a fans’ favourite at Pride Park.
The striker continued to score important goals in the big matches – including the cup games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Southampton.
He showed fantastic composure for both of his goals in the incredible play-off semi-final against Leeds United at Elland Road and made an instant impact when he came off the bench against Aston Villa in the play-off final at Wembley.
Marriott works tirelessly on the pitch and will provide Derby with some much-needed energy and intensity in attack.
He offers something different to Waghorn and his pace is perfect for hitting teams on the counter attack, which should suit the way Derby will play under Cocu.
If Lampard had played Marriott more last season, perhaps Derby would have gone on to win promotion.
The striker has shown time after time that he has got what it takes to score goals at this level and that is exactly what Derby need this season having lost Mason Mount and Harry Wilson this summer.
He deserves to be one of the first names on Cocu’s team-sheet at Derby this season and could be able to score the goals to fire the Rams to the play-offs once again.