Wayne Rooney endures nightmare start as Derby County’s interim manager as Famara Diedhiou hits later winner for Bristol City to leave Rams bottom of the Championship
- Wayne Rooney has taken over at Derby County after Phillip Cocu’s sacking
- Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker are the other interim managers
- Famara Diedhiou scored a late winner to pile more misery on the East Midlanders
- Rooney has to quickly turn the Rams around with them rooted to the bottom
As the faint murmuring of phantom fans gave way to cheers of delight, Liam Rosenior formed a huddle with Shay Given and Justin Walker.
A few yards away, on the Ashton Gate pitch, Wayne Rooney trudged towards the halfway line. Sometimes four heads aren’t better than one.
Dean Holden is used to life in the supporting cast. But perhaps it was fitting that Derby’s star-studded new staff would come immediately unstuck at the hands of a coach shining in the shadows.
Wayne Rooney played the whole match as Derby County lost in his first game in interim charge
Bristol City (4-3-3): Bentley 6.5; Hunt 6.5, Vyner 6, Kalas 6, Dasilva 6.5; Paterson 6.5 (Rowe 90), Nagy 7, O’Dowda 6 (Brunt 69, 6); Semenyo 7, Wells 6.5 (Moore 83, 6), Martin 6 (Diedhiou 69, 7.5)
Subs not used: O’Leary, Mariappa, Edwards, Towler
Goals: Diedhiou 78
Manager: Dean Holden 7
Derby County (4-2-3-1): Marshall 6; Byrne 6.5 (Hector-Ingram 88), Wisdom 6, Clarke 6, Buchanan 6; Bird 6.5 (Sibley 81), Rooney 6.5; Knight 6, Holmes 6.5 (Whittaker 72, 6), Lawrence 6; Waghorn 6
Subs not used: Roos, Forsyth, Shinnie, Evans, Davies, MacDonald
Interim coaches: Liam Rosenior, Wayne Rooney, Shay Given, Justin Walker 6.5
Referee: Keith Stroud – 6
MOM – Semenyo
With Rooney in midfield and his three fellow ‘interim first team coaches’ manning the dugout, Derby enjoyed more possession, more shots and arguably the better chances.
But then, on 78 minutes, Bristol City substitute Famara Diedhiou slotted home to secure all three points – and prompt cheers from the pitchside speakers bringing a shred of normalcy to this these turbulent times.
This result means Holden’s side are now joint-second in the Championship, Derby remain rooted to the foot of the table with one win in 12 games. For their new quartet facing a touchline audition, it’s one down, two to go.
Following the departure of Phillip Cocu, Derby want a coach with experience of taking teams up, with the know-how to develop young talent and without the hassle of leaving another job.
Here, we didn’t learn anything about Rooney the coach – he spent 90 minutes in midfield. Nor should Rosenior and Co be judged on this alone. But the clock is ticking.
‘In terms of the performance, I’m happy. they tried to implement what we asked to do all week which made me really proud,’ Rosenior said.
‘Wayne has got unbelievable knowledge and he shared it this week in the coaches’ office. Shay has been there and done it. Justin is an outstanding coach. We share responsibility when we win and when we lose.’
They had grumbles with the referee after two penalty shouts – including one which appeared to end in a yellow card but no spot kick – went against them.
But Rosenior insisted: ‘It’s not about us, it’s about the team, fans, the football club.’
And at this level, it pays to have more than a household name. Holden doesn’t fit Derby’s criteria either but it was his tactical tweak which made the difference here.
Famara Diedhiou (second from right) scored the winner to pile more misery on Rooney’s Derby
Liam Rosenior (with Shay Given, left front, and Justin Walker, right front) oversaw proceedings
He knows he wasn’t the sexy choice to take over at Ashton Gate but his work is bearing fruit after tutelage from Dean Smith, Sam Allardyce, Jorge Sampaoli, Eddie Jones and racing trainer Paul Nicholls. Rooney hasn’t even done his coaching badges.
It’s a big ask to expect him to fix this mess.
Not that the waters around Ashton Gate have been any calmer in recent days.
Holden could only name eight of their nine allocated subs after a mini-Covid outbreak ravaged his squad and staff. He was one of those affected.
‘One-and-a-half-day’s training in two weeks is not right,’ Holden said. ‘To get some of them off the sick bed.. and then to put in that performance.. that fight I’m so proud of.’
It should be plainer sailing in the coming weeks. As for Derby, the uncertainty goes on.
Their £60million takeover by Sheikh Khaled – interminably around the corner – is finally expected to be confirmed this week.
Bristol City are now third after their third successive league win following a tricky October
Rooney was unable to inspire Derby and the Rams registered just one shot on target all game
That will allow for greater stability in the dugout, too. On Saturday at least, Rooney could enjoy the comfort of the engine room. He started alongside Max Bird in midfield and so it was left to Rosenior to prowl the technical area, bark instructions and live every challenge.
‘Keep It Simple And Give Me The Ball’ was Rooney’s rallying cry before this trip. Hardy Churchillian but heeded nonetheless as Derby began with promise. Their probing, patient passing created the first chance, when Martin Waghorn’s effort was well saved by Dan Bentley.
From there they remained threatening – it certainly didn’t feel like a meeting of two sides at opposite ends of the table and for that Derby’s new-look bench deserve credit.
Their side didn’t appear to suffer from muddled thinking or spoiled broths. In fact, as full-time approached Rosenior passed Rooney a note detailing a change in shape. But still nothing doing.
For all the quality and experience at Pride Park, only points can wrestle them out of danger. And in the end it was Holden and his substitute who had the golden touch.