Wayne Rooney knows a thing or two about doing what he has often described as the hardest thing to do in football. Score goals.
Rooney, 35, is currently leading Derby from the touchline while the search continues for a permanent appointment to Phillip Cocu’s successor.
He is England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer and has netted more than 300 goals in his professional career.
Derby have struggled for goals this term and upon taking up the responsibility of leading the team last month, Rooney quickly highlighted the need for more in the final third.
The side’s last three goals, in the 1-1 draws against Wycombe Wanderers and Coventry City and the 1-0 success at Millwall on Saturday, have all come from crosses from out wide.
In addition, Derby have offered more of an attacking threat in key areas and Rooney says he’s pleased to see the players are taking on board the key messages delivered in sessions on the training ground.
“Something we have been working on is getting bodies in the box when the ball goes out wide,” Rooney told RamsTV.
“It isn’t about taking a gamble as such but making sure the players are covering the areas in the box and not worrying if it breaks down and we lose the ball.
“We have got players at the back who will put it on and delay the opponent attacking us if they have to.
“When we get into good attacking areas then we have to have bodies in the box, otherwise we are not going to create or score goals.”
Derby will put their attacking qualities to the test on Wednesday night when they travel south to face Brentford (7:45pm kick-off).
The Bees, who narrowly missed out on promotion last term, have made a strong start to the season and Rooney knows they will be a tough proposition.
However, he is keen to see Derby build on their three-game unbeaten run and Saturday’s 1-0 success at Millwall.
“Brentford are a very good team and it will be an interesting game for us,” he said.
“It will be a tough game so it’s a game we are all looking forward to.”
The hosts will be backed by 2,000 supporters at the Brentford Community Stadium as they are in a COVID-19 Tier 2 area and Rooney has welcomed the return of fans to grounds.
“It is great to be playing in front of fans again for the lads on the pitch and everyone involved in football also,” Rooney said.
“I think the more fans we can get into the stadiums the better. It does create an atmosphere and a bit of banter within the stadium, which we have been missing for the last nine months. I am looking forward to the game again on Wednesday night with more fans in.”