Former England manager Steve McClaren has given his thoughts on Wayne Rooney’s impact at Derby County.
Phillip Cocu’s Derby side struggled for consistency over the first six months of the Championship season, but since the arrival for former England international Rooney – things have changed for the better.
Hauled in on a free transfer, Rooney was immediately appointed club captain after being made available to make his debut following the turn of 2020.
Having come in to play a leading role in the middle of the park for Derby, boss Cocu has utilised Rooney’s experience and talent to develop his side and also hand a number of youngsters chance in the first team.
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The likes of Jason Knight, Max Bird and the lively Louie Sibley are all relishing from playing alongside Rooney, whilst experienced heads are also performing better.
Rooney’s inspired impact at Pride Park and form has gained many plaudits from pundits and Championship onlookers.
One of those, McClaren, has given his thoughts on Rooney’s impact, speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate.
“He’s getting deeper and deeper.
“I watched him in his debut against Barnsley and he started in the number 10 position and realised that no player could get the ball to him so he’s dropped deeper and deeper.
“He’s been a fantastic addition.
“I know people at Derby and they’ve said that he’s been fantastic since he came in in November.
“On the field he just oozes class.
“He’s kind of like the controller now as he sprays the ball forward and he’s an influencer.
“He’s an old-fashioned type of leader – he’ll tell players ‘don’t miss this’, ‘don’t miss that’, ‘do this’, ‘do that’, and that’s what he’s brought to the Derby team and their results have improved.”
Rooney has made a massive impact at Derby this term and long may it continue. But for how long?
At best Derby will surely only get this season and next out of Rooney, and then what?
Cocu will need to hand the likes of Sibley and Bird consistent chances to develop in the Derby side and bounce of Rooney’s experience and knowledge – to eventually and hopefully find a long-term replacement.