Wayne Rooney delighted to join up with Derby and counting down days until debut
Wayne Rooney hopes his arrival at Derby can lift the club but is braced for a frustrating month-long wait to make his debut.
Former England captain Rooney officially joined the Sky Bet Championship side as player-coach this week and will be in the Pride Park dugout to watch Saturday’s clash with QPR.
The 34-year-old, who left MLS outfit DC United in October and has agreed an 18-month deal, will be ineligible to represent Phillip Cocu’s side until the winter transfer window opens.
Rams supporters have already chanted Rooney’s name at matches and he shares that excitement ahead of a potential first appearance against Barnsley on January 2.
“(I am) really looking forward to it. I’ve watched most of the games. It will be nice to get to Pride Park and meet the supporters,” Rooney told Rams TV.
“It’s been a long time since it was announced that I’d joined the club, so it will be nice for me but also for the fans.
“Hopefully I can give the players and the fans a lift. It’s always exciting when you join a new club but when you get to meet the fans for the first time, it will be a nice feeling.
“I’ve heard them at games singing my name and different things so I think it’s great for all of us. Hopefully it can help us push on. It’s an exciting time.
“It’s great just to be back around all the lads and the frustrating part of it will be training all week and not playing at the weekend.”
Derby reached the play-off final under Frank Lampard last season but have endured an unconvincing start under his successor Cocu.
The 14th-placed Rams sit six points off the top six and have not won away in the league since the opening weekend of the season.
Rooney, record goalscorer for his country and Manchester United, believes greater consistency is required for his new club to push for promotion.
“The lads seem like a very good dressing room. I’ve been around the lads for a couple of weeks before I went away,” he said.
“It was important that I came in and got to know the players a bit more as well and over the next month I’ll have time to do that on a day-to-day basis.
“Home form has been really good, away form not so great. I think if we can try and pick up a few more points – pick up any points at the minute away from home – that will be great and will really help us.
“I feel if we can win two or three games on the bounce, it will put us in a good position and get us closer to the play-off spots.”
Rooney will have gone more than two months without first-team action by the time of the Barnsley match but has little concern about his fitness.
“I’ll keep myself topped up and just make sure I’m ready to come straight in come the Barnsley game,” he said.
“Not so long ago I was playing so it won’t be as tough as a full pre-season and I’ll do a lot of football training with the team so I don’t think it will be so bad.”