Derby County boss Phillip Cocu told RamsTV how Wayne Rooney confirmed he can play in a deep controlling role following his performance in the win over Crystal Palace.
The Rams managed their first away win since August as they beat Palace 1-0.
The Premier League side started the faster of the two teams. However, Derby grew into the game and Chris Martin’s close-range finish gave them a deserved victory in London.
Rooney was making his second appearance for Derby following his free transfer. And, speaking to RamsTV, Cocu felt England’s all-time top scorer answered a lot of questions.
They’re very clever and have good vision. They know where to receive the ball, but also what to do with it. The decision-making is good and gives us a lot more calmness and security on the ball when we play out. I’m very happy for him [Tom Huddlestone] and Wayne Rooney confirmed he can play in a more controlled position.
Rooney has enjoyed an incredible career to date. Aside from being England’s leading scorer, he is also a Manchester United great following his success at Old Trafford.
But at 34, and after a spell in the MLS with DC United, he still has a point to prove.
Many have questioned where Rooney will fit in at Derby. Moreover, there will be doubts over his fitness and ability to play in a deeper role where it’s more congested.
But Rooney has shown in his debut against Barnsley and at Selhurst Park in the FA Cup he still boasts enormous quality. On the ball, he dictated play as a deep-lying playmaker.
Derby have lacked creativity all season. But, with Rooney supplying from deep, the Rams have plenty to look forward to and for some their season has finally taken off.