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After a preseason of turmoil for Wayne Rooney, things weren’t expected to start well for Derby County. Yet, a draw on the Championship’s first matchday against Huddersfield was nearly as good as it could get.
The Rams followed up their 1-1 draw at Huddersfield with a wild come from behind 3-3 draw against Salford City in the Carabao Cup in midweek. Rooney watched on from the sidelines as the Rams won the tie on penalties, 5-3.
“𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣’𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙖 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙜𝙪𝙚 𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙪𝙥 – 𝙬𝙚’𝙧𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙗𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩.”@WayneRooney’s anticipating a tough encounter at Peterborough on Saturday 🤜🤛#DCFC
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) August 12, 2021
While there are still feelings of this likely being a very tumultuous season at Pride Park, the team gave some hope with the two results in the space of five days. However, leading sportsbooks still have Derby County pegged as the favourite to be relegated at 4/6.
Thanks to the club’s transfer embargo being lifted in July, Rooney has been able to add to the squad. The manager spoke during the summer about needing more players to fight for survival. He doesn’t just need more players, but better ones as well.
Derby County just saved their Championship status last season thanks to a last day of the season draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Had Wycombe Wanderers or Rotherham United been a little better at times during the campaign, then it would have been Rooney’s Rams that were relegated.
The club held onto last season’s leading goalscorer Colin Kazim-Ricards. He had eight goals last term after joining in October. The well-travelled striker, who has played for 16 different teams before joining Derby County, is the squad’s only proven goalscorer.
Needing players of any kind, Rooney signed former Manchester United academy sensation Ravel Morrison. Now 28, Morrison scored a screamer in his debut against Salford City.
Morrison shows the kind of gamble Derby County continue to make, or have to take. He arrived following a short stint with the Netherlands’ ADO Den Haag last season where he played just four times.
Morrison hasn’t played 10 or more games for one club in a league setting since the 2017-18 season while playing for Mexico’s Atlas.
It is anyone’s guess when Morrison will mess up his chance at Derby County, as this surely has to be the last chance the former wonderkid has to be a pro. Four other players have arrived at Pride Park on free transfer.
Still, more players are needed if Derby County are to stay up this season. The Rams are in a sticky situation and it all leads back to Rooney.
The Rams are in money trouble and the future is uncertain. Rooney is said to be on more than £4 million a season. Sacking him would cost the club a significant amount of money, therefore, he may not be able to be fired.
The opening week of the season could allay fears of relegation. However, much more needs to be done if Derby County are to avoid the drop this season.