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Jason Knight outlines where he can improve at Derby County

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Frank Lampard, Phillip Cocu and Wayne Rooney are incredible role models to have as your first three managers in senior football as a midfielder.

That is how it has played out for Derby County’s Jason Knight and the Republic of Ireland international has learnt from all three in different ways.

The 20-year-old has always had an eye for goal from deeper areas since breaking into the Rams’ first team and has been deployed further forward than his usual number eight role at times this campaign.

The Republic of Ireland international explained the areas he is working on when he spoke to The Athletic.

He said: “I see myself as a number eight A box-to-box midfielder, the type that gets goals and stops goals going in the other end. Like Frank (Lampard) — that’s the type of player I want to be. I learned a lot technically under Philip Cocu, who was obviously a great player back in his day. And with the gaffer now (Wayne Rooney), everybody knows that he was all about scoring goals and getting assists. That’s what I am constantly working to bring into my game.

“Obviously, I want to keep the energy and tenacity, but the lethal edge is the big thing.”

Knight is one of an outstanding crop of younger players currently bearing fruit at Pride Park.

The influences of Lampard, Cocu and Rooney should only improve his chances of going on to play in the Premier League in the future and increase his impact on games for Derby County in the second half of this season.

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Lampard, Cocu and Rooney all represent very different types of central midfielder, expert in different areas of the game and adding unique skillsets to the position.

Knight has a high-energy style in and out of possession but is yet to post the attacking numbers that will turn heads of those higher up the second tier and in the top-flight.

It is a positive that Knight understands his game enough to have identified his specialist role, box-to-box midfielder, by the age of 20 and it means that he should be able to hone that ability in the coming years.

One thing he is guaranteed at Derby is first team opportunities and he should make the most of that as the club continue their relegation scrap in the second half of the season.

Though Knight, along with other youngsters at Derby, could be a popular name in the January transfer window’s rumour mill.


Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

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Article title: Jason Knight outlines where he can improve at Derby County

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