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Rooney's impact has been huge

“In the games I have watched over the last few days, he seems to have really made a big impact"

6 March 2020

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Rovers boss Tony Mowbray has hailed the impact that Wayne Rooney's had on Derby County ahead of this weekend's trip to Pride Park.

Rooney, who is England and Manchester United's top goalscorer, is expected to start for the Rams on Sunday in the East Midlands.

The 34-year-old, who arrived from DC United midway through this season, has already scored four times from his 15 Derby games so far.

Of those 15 outings, the Rams have lost just four of them, which shows just how big an effect the England legend has had on Phillip Cocu's team.

"On paper it looks as if he’s made a huge impact," the boss told iFollow Rovers ahead of the trip.

“I remember back in December that Wayne was going to be ready to play in January and he was sitting on the bench against us at Ewood.

“We won that day but it looks statistically that he’s made a big difference since he’s come onto the pitch.

“In the games I have watched over the last few days, he seems to have really made a big impact.

“His ability too pick the right pass, he’s playing a bit deeper now, when earlier on he was playing further up the pitch in attacking midfield and in the number 10 role.

“He’s dropped deeper and he’s picking great passes, very rarely giving the ball away.

“He’s keeping the ball, he knows when to stay, knows when to pass forward, that’s what Wayne is doing for them."

The Rams won't be the only team to have a former England international in their ranks when Sunday's meeting takes place.

And Mowbray admits he does see similarities between Rooney and Rovers' own former international star.

“He’s just a top player who’s playing in a league that his talent is better than, a little similar to what Stewy Downing is doing for us," the boss said.

“The two players we’re talking about have played at a much higher level in all their careers.

“It’s great for the young players we have to train and play with Stewart Downing, and I’m sure at Derby it’s the same with Wayne.

“It’s a great educational tool for young players, but in the meantime they also need to show that they can help the team on the pitch as well," he added.

“Stewart’s done exceptionally well for us all season and Wayne’s done it for Derby since the start of 2020.

“They see the pictures quicker, see the movement quicker and select the right weight of pass.”

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