Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has praised his Derby County players in their 2-1 loss against Manchester United yesterday, with several trialists making their debut for the Rams.
Experienced forward Colin Kazim-Richards pulled one back for the East Midlands side midway through the second half, after Tahith Chong and Facundo Pellistri put a young Manchester United side 2-0 up before the hour mark.
However, the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic all appeared for Ole Gunnar Solskjear’s side at some point throughout the match after not being called up to the European Championships.
With that, Derby can take heart from the scoreline as they continue their preparations for the 2021/22 season.
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After enduring a shoddy start to last season, Phillip Cocu was replaced by Rooney as manager and the Rams enjoyed a mid-season bounce under the Manchester United legend to steer themselves away from the drop zone.
However, they struggled towards the end of the campaign and only just escaped relegation on the final day, giving the Derby boss a huge task this summer as he looks to improve his side’s fortunes in the next 12 months.
The club’s transfer embargo has prevented signings from coming in – and Rooney has recently spoken out on this issue – but has still reserved praise for his side as they battled hard with the former Premier League champions.
In his latest Instagram post, the Rams’ manager was pictured with Manchester United’s Solskjear and said: “Good performance from the lads in our first friendly yesterday. Lots of positives to take and great to see some of the things we’ve been working on. Always a pleasure to see Ole, the team and all the staff at Manchester United.”
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Even though it was only a friendly, this must have been an emotional occasion for Rooney who was finally able to welcome Derby fans back to Pride Park and come up against a side he spent a successful 13 years at.
With the Championship side’s transfer embargo, their current lack of centre-backs and the need to start several trialists, the 35-year-old understands how difficult this upcoming campaign could potentially be.
But if he can get some of his trialists in, including Ravel Morrison and Sone Aluko who both impressed in yesterday’s friendly, they could have a chance of being competitive in the second tier next term.