Discovery+ and Quest pundit Jobi McAnuff believes that experienced players are a crucial asset in the EFL and have heavily contribute to Derby County’s admirable displays in the first half of the season.
Curtis Davies and Phil Jagielka do not represent a modern central defensive partnership at second tier level. However, there is an argument to say that they have been the best one in the first half of the campaign with only Bournemouth, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion having conceded fewer than the Rams despite Derby facing significantly more dangerous attacks than the trio competing at the top end of the division.
Derby have not given up hope altogether, with a 17 point gap between themselves and safety and consistently surprising the division with their performances, a portion of the fan base will still be dreaming of the greatest of all escapes from relegation.
It looks as though County will have to rely on loan deals and the free agents market in January, still unable to operate normally as a second tier club in the transfer window, however adding to their compliment of senior players could prove a successful move.
When asked how important senior players are within a squad in the EFL, Jobi McAnuff exclusively told Football League World:
“I’m a massive advocate of having good experienced players throughout your squad. I don’t think you’d have had them (Davies and Jagielka) down for playing as many games as they have had given their ages. It just goes to show, if you look after yourself and you’ve got that passion and love for the game and want to go out and perform there’s no reason why you can’t.
“I’m sure they’ve been a massive help to Wayne (Rooney), with him being a young manager, Liam Rosenior as well in coaching terms, they’ll be leaning on those guys. It helps the manager out, making sure that standards and heads haven’t dropped.”
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It will be interesting to see if Derby can maintain their excellent rearguard action heading into the second half of the season after what is set to be a month of change come the turn of the year. Davies and Jagielka have epitomised the spirit of the battle and deserve so much credit for the way they have conducted themselves so far this term.