Wayne Rooney believes Derby County’s players have shown their desire to fight for the shirt in training this week.
Rooney is part of a four-man coaching staff in charge of first-team affairs after Phillip Cocu parted company with the club.
The 35-year-old is working alongside fellow coaches Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker and their first game in charge comes on Saturday when Derby head to Bristol City (3pm kick-off).
Derby have picked up one win from 11 games in the Sky Bet Championship so far this season, leaving them with six points to their name to date, but with 35 matches to play plenty of points remain up for grabs.
Rooney, who has been with the Rams as Player-Coach since January of this year, says everyone in the squad has shown a positive reaction on the training pitch this week to a change in management.
The former England international has insisted everyone in the squad knows they must prove their worth in training to show they are worthy of being named in the starting XI.
That determination has been evident on the training ground this week with the squad fired up to turn the Rams’ fortunes around and begin to climb the league table.
“We came in on Monday and we told the players that this is a clean slate for everyone; you train well, you give yourself a better opportunity to play,” Rooney told RamsTV.
“The lads have taken that on, we’ve seen from some players the levels go up beyond what we have seen in the last few months so everyone is fighting for that shirt and that will be evident on Saturday.
“There will be players coming in because of how they have trained during the week, so everyone is aware of that.
“I think for the international lads coming back the message will go to them as well that you have to fight for your shirt and you have to perform in training if you do that you have a chance of playing.”
He added: “We are sat at the bottom of the league, so obviously we needed to change something.
“I think for the lads, first and foremost it’s coming in and enjoying the football, working hard and earning the right to wear the shirt and play at the weekend.
“That was important to us and the lads have done that really well this week and they are ready. I think there will be small changes to the last few games and hopefully that is evident and will help us.”
Rooney believes the blend and dynamic between the coaching quartet has worked well so far.
In particular, is confident that their aligned thinking has resulted in a positive week both on the training ground and in the office where they are all based.
After Cocu departed last Saturday evening, the coaches got together on Sunday to iron out their plans, and the message they wanted to deliver to the squad, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bristol City.
Rooney explained “The four of us met up Sunday. We spoke of how we saw this week looking, what we wanted out of this week in terms of physical loads on the players but also the tactical details which we wanted to get across to the players.
“Obviously a few players have been away on international duty and we have brought a few of the young lads in and they’ve trained with us as we put our identity on the team.
“The players have responded really well everything. Myself, Liam, Shay and Justin have got similar ideas, but some different ideas. That is good, because when discussing it we are coming up with a solution which we think is the right solution and we are giving that message to the players. I think it is a good blend for us.
“We are trying to play the right way, the way we see this team playing and playing to the qualities, not just individual qualities but also for the team qualities. If we do that I am pretty sure the fans will be happy with what they see.”
England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer added: “We all know that we haven’t started the season well, we are all responsible for that, but sometimes a change can give everyone a lift.
“It can give the players a lift, the staff around the building a lift and it is on us now to try and make sure we give the fans a lift. We are doing everything we can, doing everything in our power to do that. “