Discovery+ and Quest pundit Jobi McAnuff is full of admiration for the job that Wayne Rooney has done through trying circumstances at Derby County this season.
We are witnessing one of the most challenging campaigns any club has faced in the EFL for many years both on and off the pitch.
Despite a difficult second half to the 2020/21 season, Rooney has been able to inspire Derby’s young crop of plays to have them six points above the relegation zone, if it was not for the points deductions they have suffered.
Providing opportunities for academy graduates and utilising the free agents market to cover holes in the squad, Rooney’s commitment to the cause and never say die attitude has set an example to every other EFL manager of how to handle difficult circumstances.
The former England captain’s man management skills have been outstanding and have led to reports suggesting him as the next Everton manager with Rafael Benitez currently under pressure in the hotseat.
When asked to assess the performances of Derby County so far this season, Jobi McAnuff exclusively told Football League World:
“He’s (Wayne Rooney) managed to keep the group motivated first and foremost which is difficult in the circumstances they’re in, and obviously with all the penalties, it’s effectively a dead season before it’s even started. He’s managed to keep that group of lads going, the squad has been stretched to the absolute limit due to those financial implications.
“Clearly they’ve got to try and get as many results as they can (on if Derby can be more attacking). You only have to look at the table and if they had the points they’d be in a much better position than they are now. You’ve got to work with the squad that you’ve got and it has been very limited at times this season.”
Quiz: Have Derby County signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
There were huge concerns that the Rams would be comfortably relegated this season even without any points deductions, therefore to have posted 25 points from 22 games is a very impressive effort from Derby and one that will enhance the reputation of all involved moving on from this David versus Goliath-like campaign.