Ian Holloway believes that Wayne Rooney will make a real impact for the Rams when he eventually makes his debut in the New Year, but suggested that Derby having to wait for him to feature is having a negative effect.
Rooney will be able to make his long-awaited debut for the Rams in the New Year, when he officially joins the club following the end of his deal with DC United, and Phillip Cocu’s side will be in need of the Englishman’s quality on the field, having failed to win any of their last five Championship matches.
The Rams could have done with Rooney’s creative presence over the last few weeks which have seen Cocu’s side struggle to find any real end product in the final third, with this being evident in their defeat at home to Millwall last time out where they registered just one shot on target.
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In his latest column for the Mirror, Holloway suggested that Rooney’s presence on the pitch will be able to proved a spark for the Rams, but that not having available to play over the last few weeks has cost Cocu’s side, saying: “I’m a massive fan, his footballing brain is incredible which allows him to play anywhere on the pitch.
“I think he could drop in and link things up from a number 10 role for the Rams – that’s where I see him doing his best football.
“Let him float, even if he has to drop to pick the ball up from the centre-halves. Let him spray it around. On the pitch he’s going to be brilliant.
“But he needs to get playing – I’m not sure that’s done Derby any good him being there and not being able to play.
“The media attention it’s bought to the club, I’m not sure that’s been of benefit to the players yet. The sooner he can get playing the better.”
Holloway is certainly right to suggest that Rooney’s presence should help the Rams improve in the final third, with the Englishman having the potential to fill what has been a problem position for Cocu’s side in the number ten role, where he should be able to link up the play with rest of Derby’s attacking players.
However, there is also a case, as Holloway suggests, that having Rooney around the club without being able to actually play him over the last few weeks could have had a negative impact, especially given the amount of media scrutiny there is surrounding his presence at the club.
The sooner Derby can get Rooney onto the field the better, and Cocu will be hoping that having his presence on the pitch can help to kick start a more consistent run of performances and results for the Rams in the New Year.