Derby County got their four-game pre-season campaign underway today in which they will face a mixture of different level teams – and they faced a stiff test in the form of Manchester United.
The Rams will also face Real Betis, Salford City and Notts County before kicking off their Championship season on August 7 but first they had to deal with the test that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s mix of senior players and youngsters posed.
Despite not having many of their stars due to their international involvements over the last month, the Red Devils still fielded the likes of Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard and they triumphed in a 2-1 victory against County.
Derby head coach Wayne Rooney is of course a Manchester United icon and with fans back inside Pride Park for the game, the travelling United contingent tried to get Rooney’s attention with a chant in the first half.
20 questions about some of Derby County’s biggest ever moments in their history – Can you score full marks?
Rooney though ignored the cries from the United fans, which led to them humorously referring to him as a Scouse so-and-so, before breaking into the famed ‘white Pele’ chant that Red Devils supporters made for him a number of years ago.
Speaking of the blanking, Rooney said, per The Mirror: “Of course I respect the club. I love United and there will be times when I am watching them as a fan.
“But my loyalty today has to go to Derby County and my players and that’s all I was focusing on.”
It must have shown great restraint from Rooney to not lap up the chants, and considering it was only a pre-season friendly you probably would’ve expected him to do just that.
But he chose not to do so and stayed focused on the task in hand for his Derby side so you have to give him credit where it is due.
On the pitch though, Rooney has a tough time trying to get a squad together before August 7 considering the club is under a transfer embargo still.
There’s a number of players on trial at the club, including Phil Jagielka, Ravel Morrison and Sone Aluko, and the plan may be to keep them for a number of weeks and then sign them to deals once they’re allowed to do so.
It’s a big test for Rooney very early in his managerial career but one he will be hoping to pass, and who knows – maybe he will be managing United one day.