Wayne Rooney says Curtis Davies will still have a key role to play for Derby County this season despite being sidelined with a long-term injury.

Davies, 35, had surgery on his right Achilles on Monday morning after sustaining the injury in Derby’s 0-0 draw at Brentford in early December.

The centre-back is set for a lengthy spell out of action as he works his way through his rehabilitation programme.

The vastly experienced defender has worn the captain’s armband on several occasions this season and was a regular in the side after Rooney stepping up to lead the Rams while they wait to appoint a permanent manager following Phillip Cocu’s departure in November.

While he will not be able to play his part on the pitch, Rooney is convinced Davies’ leadership skills and characteristics off the field will be just as influential.

“The next step now is surgery and his recovery,” Rooney told RamsTV.

“We will help him in every way possible to do that and it will be great once he has had the surgery for him to be in and around the place.

“He is a leader for us so to have him around the place, and maybe popping into the coaches’ office and have a look at how we are working, will be great.

“I know he is doing his coaching badges, so we will be helping him in that way as well. It will be great for him.”

Davies has amassed over 550 appearances in his professional career to date, with 103 coming in a Rams shirt.