Wayne Rooney has confirmed that Tom Lawrence will be Derby County’s captain for the forthcoming 2021/22 season.
The 27-year-old forward is one of the Rams’ longest serving players, having joined the club from Leicester City in the summer of 2017.
During his time with Derby, the versatile Wales international has recorded 146 appearances and scored on 26 occasions.
Rooney revealed the news to Lawrence and the rest of the Rams’ squad ahead of training on Monday morning at their training camp in the South East of England.
Lawrence missed a long spell of last season due to injury but returned to the fold in the closing months of the campaign and was an influential figure on and off the pitch.
Rooney, a captain himself for both club and country during his illustrious playing career, is convinced that Lawrence is ready to take on the challenge.
Rooney said: “Tom had a few injuries last year and was out for a long time, but when he came back, he showed a great attitude, determination and character to help us stay in the division.
“Tom is at an age and a period in his career now where he needs to step up. I believe giving him the armband will see him take on the responsibility and make sure he and the team do the right things.
“I think he’s in the perfect moment to take on this challenge. It is a big responsibility, and he was excited when I told him.”
He added: “He has matured on and off the pitch and I think it is the right time, but we have a number of other natural leaders in the squad as well.”
Lawrence said: “It is a massive privilege for me, at a club like Derby County, to captain the side and I can’t wait to lead the boys out.
“The manager spoke to me last week and he has put his trust in me to lead the group this year.
“I’ll do everything to make it a positive season. We all know last season wasn’t good enough on all fronts and we want to be back up towards the top end of the division this year.”
He added: “The lads have all been great with me about it and I am grateful for that, but it’s not just about me because there are a number of captains in this team.”