Wayne Rooney is wary of the threat that Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong poses for Birmingham City as the Red Devils legend prepares for Derby County’s trip to St Andrew’s on Saturday.
Chong is a player that Rooney knows all about with the Dutchman coming through the youth ranks at Old Trafford when Rooney was still at the club and he has been dazzling for the Blues in the opening matches of the season.
The Rams defended resolutely in the weeks before the international break and Rooney is confident this morning that they can deal with the Dutchman, quotes are provided by BirminghamLive.
He said: “Obviously, he’s a very talented player, he played against us in pre-season and yeah, he’s an impact player, he has good moments in the game.
“So, of course, we’ll have to be wary of him and make sure we’re on our toes and we’re defending well against him because if we give him time and space, then he’s a player who can really hurt you.”
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Derby have exceeded many people’s expectations to have earned six points from their opening five, and if truth be told they probably should have accumulated more.
Due to their lack of squad depth a slide down the table feels inevitable at some point in the season, but Rooney and his staff will be determined to delay that occurrence for as long as they can.
Lee Bowyer’s Blues pose a difficult examination on Saturday, with them currently just one point outside the play-off places.
Chong has been unplayable at times this season and his direct running and quality of delivery is exactly what the Blues have been crying out for.
With the physical and aerial threats of Lukas Jutkiewicz, Chuks Aneke and now Troy Deeney at the club it will be vital for the Rams to deal with Chong and cut off the supply line to the Birmingham frontmen.
Derby have conceded just once in their last three outings and will need to be just as organised at St Andrew’s with Bowyer’s men boasting the sixth most potent attacking contingent in the division. It will be a tough test off the back of the international break.