Wayne Rooney playing for Derby County.

Everything you need to know about the Rams

Wednesday 04 March 2020 16:08

Manchester United travel to Pride Park on Thursday for an Emirates FA Cup fifth-round tie against Championship outfit Derby County.

After a tough start to the season, the Rams have risen to 13th place in the second tier and their upturn in fortunes has coincided with the January arrival of Wayne Rooney.

Our former no.10 is expected to line up against the Reds on Thursday for only the third time since his 2017 departure.

Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s opponents…

Derby are expected to be without midfielders Duane Holmes, who remains sidelined with an ankle injury, and Tom Huddlestone, who has missed the last 10 matches in all competitions with a calf problem. Defender Krystian Bielik has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery, while fellow long-term absentee Ikechi Anya is unlikely to feature as he continues his recovery from a calf problem.

Derby’s 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend was their first win in five, following defeats at QPR and Bristol City, and draws against Huddersfield Town and Fulham. Their run of form means they sit eight points off the play-offs, and 10 points clear of the relegation zone. The Rams have not lost at Pride Park since a 1-0 defeat to Millwall on 14 December. We can also expect plenty of goals on Thursday, as both sides have netted in each of Derby’s last seven games, while there has been at least two goals in each of the Rams’ last nine matches.

Our all-time record goalscorer was announced as a Derby player-coach in August 2019, but officially joined the Rams in January, when he was named as the club’s new captain. Since moving to the Championship outfit, Wayne has been deployed in a deeper midfield role, enabling him to utilise his vision and passing range. He made his Rams debut at the beginning of January against Barnsley, providing an assist in a 2-1 victory. Rooney has since found the net four times during his two months at Pride Park, including a superb free kick in Derby's 4-0 demolition of Stoke City.

Of course, during his time at Old Trafford, Wayne scored 253 goals in 559 appearances and scooped every major honour available. He lifted five Premier League titles, three League Cups and one FA Cup, while also tasting success in Europe by winning the Champions League in 2008 and the Europa League in 2017.

Exclusive interview in full: Wayne x Wes Video

Exclusive interview in full: Wayne x Wes

Watch as Wayne Rooney speaks to his friend Wes Brown about Derby, MLS, United and (finally) controlling his anger...

United have knocked Derby out of the FA Cup three times over the last 11 years. The most recent victory came in the third round two years ago, as goals from Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku in the final 10 minutes secured a 2-0 win.

The Reds also beat the Rams en route to winning the trophy in 2016, with a 3-1 victory at Pride Park in the fourth round, with Rooney himself opening the scoring. The two sides also met at this stage back in 2009, as United ran out 4-1 winners thanks to goals from Nani, Darron Gibson, Cristiano Ronaldo and Danny Welbeck. Overall, we’ve played the Rams 107 times and have won 46, lost 32 and drawn on 29 occasions. However, Derby did beat the Reds in the last meeting, when we were eliminated from the Carabao Cup on penalties following a 2-2 draw, in September 2018.

Ole: Why Rooney shouldn't net against United Video

Ole: Why Rooney shouldn't net against United

Speaking ahead of Thursday's FA Cup clash, the boss jokingly explains that Wayne shouldn't score against the Reds...

Phillip Cocu will be in the home dugout on Thursday, after taking over from Frank Lampard in the summer. Cocu enjoyed an esteemed playing career, representing the likes of PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona, while also winning over 100 international caps for the Netherlands. Since hanging up his boots, Cocu has taken charge of PSV and led them to three Dutch titles, before joining Fenerbahce in 2018. His stint in Turkey didn’t last long and the Dutchman was sacked after taking charge of just 15 games. Cocu was appointed as Derby manager last summer and has won 15 of his 41 games in charge.

Derby boast an exciting forward line which includes United Academy product Tom Lawrence. The winger progressed through the ranks at Old Trafford and made one appearance for the Reds in May 2014. Lawrence is direct, tricky and has a real eye for goal, having found the net nine times in the Championship this season. On the Rams’ opposite flank is top scorer Martyn Waghorn. Strong and dogged, he can be a real handful for defenders and has 12 league goals this season. Another threat in the opposition side is 19-year-old Jayden Bogle, the dynamic right-back who broke into the Derby team last season and was an integral part of the side that made it to the play-off final.

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