Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has hailed Wayne Rooney’s debut performance and said he will remain as the club’s permanent captain. The former England striker played a vital role in the two-goal that saw a 2-1 triumph over Barnsley at Pride Park
Wayne Rooney was named as skipper for his debut after accepting to join the Championship club as a January signing on an 18-month contract in August, taking the armband instead of Curtis Davies.
Wondering if Rooney would remain as captain after the match, Derby County manager Cocu replied: ”Yes, he is the captain. I spoke with Curtis this week and he understands. When someone with the experience of Wayne Rooney comes in – a former captain of the national team – then it makes sense that he is the captain.”
Although Rooney hasn’t been eligible to play since his departure from major League side DC United, the striker had been busy training, coaching and sitting in the dugout at matches for a long time now until Thursday night.
Wayne Rooney was included at the expense of the suspended Krystian Bielik in the only change that was made by coach Cocu. He shocked everyone by playing the full game, even though it was his first competitive game since October and here’s what Cocu has to say about that:
”Maybe he surprised everybody by staying on for 90 minutes, but at half-time, he said he felt good. So I said, “If nothing changes, you stay on”. We have to be careful and build up his resistance and endurance but we will take a look at how he recovers and make a decision for the next match on Sunday,” said Cocu.
Rooney brilliantly assisted the opening goal by Jack Marriott and was also part of the second goal which was scored by Martyn Waghorn. Rooney’s performance coincided with the Rams winning straight games for the first time this season, after beating Charlton 2-1 at Pride Park on Monday.
Speaking further of Wayne Rooney effectiveness in the match Derby County manager said, ”Wayne Rooney was important today. Jack Marriott got the first goal from his free-kick then Martyn Waghorn got the second, which came from Wayne’s magnificent cross-pass to Andre Wisdom. I am happy to see he did well. He played the full game and he made a positive contribution.”
On the other hand, defeated Barnsley coach Gerhard Struber felt the Rooney factor was the most disappointing aspect of the match and then said, ”It was not enough for a point. The energy from the opponent with Rooney for the first 30 minutes gave us a lot of problems in the game and we couldn’t find control. In many situations, we could have been better.”
It was first defeat in six Championship matches for the Tykes, who remain second position from the bottom and three points away from the safety zone.
”It is not so easy because our situation is difficult and we need points. We need to play as we did in the second half from the beginning. We need to focus and concentrate better for the whole match, from the beginning,” said Struber.