Wayne Rooney happy to see last-minute team change work for a point



Posted Sunday, August 08, 2021 by PA

Wayne Rooney happy to see last-minute team change work for a point

Wayne Rooney was happy to see his last-minute team selection pay off after Derby claimed a hard-fought point against Huddersfield.

Rooney only decided what his team would be on the morning of the game and was delighted with the way they responded.

Considering the transfer embargo and the restrictions Rooney has been working under, Derby started well and created several half-chances with Louie Watson unable to take advantage when Max Bird played him in.

They had been the more threatening side and deservedly went ahead in the 39th minute when Curtis Davies, who only re-signed on Friday, bundled the ball in after former Derby attacker Duane Holmes flicked the ball across goal.

But Derby’s weakness at set plays was exposed again in the 45th minute when Sorba Thomas curled in a free-kick and Naby Sarr rose to head in.

Both teams could have won it in the second half although Huddersfield created the better chances and it needed a fine save by Kelle Roos to deny Fraizer Campbell in the 81st minute.

Louie Sibley forced a good save from Ryan Schofield in added time but Rooney was pleased with his team’s first showing after such a troubled pre-season.

“I’m delighted for that group of players after what we’ve been through trying to prepare for this game,” the Derby manager said.

“This week has been tough, I haven’t been able to do it the way I would have liked, I changed my team three times since yesterday morning so for them to go out and put a good performance in and get a point is a real positive.

“I named the team yesterday morning because I had to try and prepare and that team was changed before I got back in off the training pitch because players had signed.”

Rooney has since signed midfielder Ravel Morrison and he said: “He’s a quality player, he can add so much in terms of our creativity.

“I think he knows himself he can score more goals than what he has done at previous clubs so it’s my job to get the best out of him on the pitch.”

Huddersfield also had problems with a Covid 19 outbreak preventing head coach Carlos Coberan and four first-team players taking part in the game.

First-team coach Danny Schofield said: “I think it was a really positive performance, first and foremost a challenging game, it’s always difficult to come away on the first day of the season against a good opponent.

“I think the preparation we had in pre-season has been really good, every player in the squad knows their role and responsibility if they have to come into the team so it was really quite a smooth transition to put players in.

“I’m not entirely sure on the protocols (with Covid), I think it’s 10 days but some lads have been isolating for different periods so I’m not sure what the return time is for individuals.

“Because we had a little bit of an outbreak within the training ground the advice was to try and control it as quickly as possible so some players drove to the hotel and arrived at the stadium in their cars.

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