Wayne Rooney’s highly anticipated arrival at Derby County is nearing.
After agreeing to relocate from Washington, America to the central city of Derby at the beginning of this season, Rooney is set to arrive at Pride Park a little ahead of schedule.
Clearly keen to link up with his new side, Philip Cocu revealed that England’s all-time leading top scorer may very well be in the dugout alongside the Dutchman for Derby’s next Championship clash with Queens Park Rangers.
Whilst the former Manchester United captain cannot put the boots on and step out onto Pride Park until January, there is nothing stopping him from fulfilling his coaching responsibilities on the side-lines.
Whilst he can’t feature with them on the pitch, it has been reported that Wayne Rooney hasn’t exactly hung up the boots for good until January.
The Athletic Derby correspondent Ryan Conway revealed that he has been practising free kicks at Derby’s Moor Farm Training Centre.
Phillip Cocu confirmed that Rooney will be at Pride Park on Saturday when Derby take on QPR.
The former Man United man has been around Moor Farm already practising free-kicks & working with analysts.
— Ryan Conway (@RJConway92) November 27, 2019
In the article, Conway claims that Rooney has been seen practising his set-piece technique a lot in training and has already started perpetrations for when his inevitable Championship debut comes in January.
Derby need someone of his quality behind free kicks too. They haven’t scored from a direct free kick all season which is a stark contrast to last season. With Harry Wilson and Mason Mount at their disposal Derby scored a plethora of spectacular free kicks, most notably at Old Trafford in a cup victory over Manchester United.
But with both Wilson and Mount returning to the Premier League after their loan spells, Derby have been short of options and quality in that department so far this campaign.
The Rams have had the likes of Chris Martin, Tom Lawrence and even Scott Malone step up to the plate to take free kicks this season, all to no avail.
Rooney has scored an impressive 11 direct free kicks in his career. To those thinking that all these came in his Manchester United prime and that the 34-year-old is now past it, four of those were scored in his last two seasons for DC United in the MLS.
His best came in America against Toronto. He whipped the ball into the top corner from just over 30 yards out to open the scoring.
Having such a dangerous threat behind dead balls helped Derby so much last season under Frank Lampard and may do so again under Cocu in the latter half of this campaign.
This is just one of the many factors that should excite Derby fans about Rooney’s transfer. Whilst he wasn’t exactly renowned for his free kick technique, he is still a lot better than what Derby currently have. They’ve already missed multiple penalties this season so he will help in the department too.
There is nothing about this move that should concern Derby supporters. The only downside is that he wasn’t allowed to come sooner. Derby are struggling this season and could do with a player of his influence on and off the pitch, especially as they head into the ever-demanding month of December.
It will come as a surprise if he isn’t put on set piece duty straight away. Lawrence has ability in that department but it takes a brave man to push Rooney out of the way of anything.