Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has said David Marshall and other fringe players at Pride Park need to make it difficult for him to leave them out of the matchday squad, speaking to Derbyshire Live ahead of tonight’s clash against West Brom.
With the Rams’ EFL-imposed transfer embargo severely limiting the amount of business they were able to do in the summer, bringing in just five players in the end despite arguably needing many more, Manchester United legend Rooney opted to strengthen his goalkeeping department by recruiting previous free agent Ryan Allsop.
Considering he already had two high-calibre, senior goalkeepers to choose from in Marshall and former Netherlands youth international Kelle Roos, this was viewed by many outsiders as a strange decision with either Roos or new signing Allsop expected to drop down to third choice.
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However, the victim of the 29-year-old’s arrival has proved to be Scottish international Marshall, who was the first-choice shot-stopper for his nation during the European Championships in the summer and has taken a major fall from grace at his domestic side since then.
He has failed to make a competitive appearance for the Rams so far this season, but Wayne Rooney has set the 36-year-old a challenge ahead of tonight’s clash at The Hawthorns and said to Derbyshire Live: “The one thing I ask from the players is to train well and work hard, and earn your right to play and if you get in the team, make it difficult for me to leave you out of the team.
“At the minute, Kelle is doing a good job and Ryan (Allsop) obviously hasn’t played too much, but that is the two I have gone with at the minute.
“Like it did last season, if performances aren’t up to the standard I want then it makes my decision easier if I need to change it.
“Marshy (Marshall) would want to play, of course, he would, and it’s a difficult position for him to be in, and also for me because I really like him as a person, but my job is to pick what I feel is the best option for the team.”
After making 33 Championship appearances last season and remaining a key player for Scotland, David Marshall is likely to be understandably furious with the lack of first-team minutes he’s received during the 2021/22 campaign so far.
His national manager Steve Clarke cited his lack of first-team football at Pride Park as the reason why he didn’t include him in his squad during the international break, so it would be no surprise to see him push for a move away if he finds himself in the same predicament in January as he currently does now.
He didn’t even receive any game time in the Carabao Cup against Salford City and Sheffield United – and this has made things look particularly dire for the Scottish international in the East Midlands.
Regardless of Rooney’s playing style, the decision to recruit another goalkeeper in the summer seemed like a bizarre decision with the other areas they needed to strengthen. The centre-forward area is one of those – and without Colin Kazim-Richards up top – it would be no surprise to see them struggle going forward until he returns.
He could be crucial in the latter stages of this season, but one man who is unlikely to be at Derby at that point is Marshall, with the Championship side potentially willing to cash in on him in January to help bring another player or two in.