What a mess things are at Derby Country right now. You could suggest that it’s all off the field matters, but they are, of course, having an impact on the pitch, too, as proven by Phil Jagielka’s enforced exit. However, the man who has kept everything going, inspiring belief, is manager Wayne Rooney. And his resolve could help Derby perform an unlikely miracle escape.
The current situation at Pride Park is that Derby are in administration, and they need to find a resolution and fast. Of course, entering administration means a points deduction, with the club taking a twenty-one point, hit this season. They’re marooned in the relegation zone and are some way off escaping at present.
But, despite all this, they have only recorded one defeat in their last six league outings, registering four victories in a run which saw them become one of the form teams in the Championship, defeating the likes of West Brom, Stoke and Sheffield United. Derby’s resolve, never say die attitude, and willingness to battle against the odds is very much characteristic of their manager and while they are a way off, could be a rags to riches Championship betting story.
So, it’s fair to say that Rooney’s determination to stick to the task at hand, rebuffing approaches from former club and Premier League outfit Everton, will be music to the ears of the many people with a connection to Derby. The young manager has been linked with the Goodison Park vacancy since Rafa Benitez departed but suggested that he turned down an interview opportunity when an approach to his agent was made.
The critical takeaway from Rooney's comments on the situation will be where the thirty-six-year-old said, "I've got a job here to do at Derby County, which is an important job to me." It would, after all, have been very easy for England's record all-time scorer to jump the sinking ship and attempt to land a job that is more secure, financially rewarding and going to kick his career in the management game on further, but that's not Rooney.
Instead, Rooney has put Derby, his players, the fans and everyone connected first. He’s on a mission to keep fighting, even if the odds are stacked against him and his badly depleted team. There is a chance, a big chance, that Derby will be playing League One football next season. But, they won’t go down without a fight until the death.
What will be crucial now is for the administrators to keep Rooney's squad together as best as possible. Skipper and talisman Tom Lawrence has been linked with moves to the likes of Bournemouth. His eleven contributions, goals and assists have been crucial this season, and Rooney has been assured bids will be rebuffed.
Now, you could say it’s over to the administrators to resolve the off-field matters, as Rooney, his staff and his players continue their efforts in pulling off what would be the greatest escape English football has ever seen