Derby County endured a disappointed league campaign under the management of Wayne Rooney this term, as the Rams narrowly avoided relegation into League One.
They left it late to survive in the Championship as well, as they drew 3-3 with Sheffield Wednesday to see them over the line, at the Owls’ expense.
Rooney was appointed as Derby County’s manager early into the 2020/21 campaign, as he replaced Phillip Cocu, who struggled for a positive run of results at the start of this term.
In his column for the Sunday Times, Rooney revealed that he couldn’t ‘carry passengers’ in one of the first meetings he had with the first-team squad.
Rooney went on to state that one or two of the players didn’t agree with his plans with the team heading into the 2020/21 season, which saw them depart in the January transfer window.
“I was very honest in my first meeting as manager. I told the squad: ‘I know you’ll make mistakes, I know you’ll have bad games and bad training sessions, and that’s fine. But what I can’t take is anyone messing around. We cannot carry passengers and if you don’t want to work, the door’s there.’
“The players bought into it except one or two — who I made sure left in January. The rest put their bodies on the line for me and you could see a big lift in the physical stats of the team. Probably because I retired as a player . . . ha.”
Duane Holmes, George Evans and Morgan Whittaker all left Derby during the January transfer window, so it remains to be seen as to which players Rooney’s comments were aimed towards.
Did each of these players score a goal whilst on loan with Derby County?
He’ll be hoping for a better season next term.
Derby really struggled this season, and their supporters will be breathing a huge sigh of relief heading into the summer, as they can count themselves fortunate that Sheffield Wednesday had a points deduction to their name this season.
Otherwise, the Rams could well be playing their football in the third-tier next season, which will have been disastrous for the Rams.
Rooney is still early into his managerial career, and I think he’ll come good eventually, but he needs to be given time to bring in his own players, which could prove difficult if the off-field problems continue at Derby County moving forwards.