Wayne Rooney has praised Derby County captain Tom Lawrence for his positive influence on and off the pitch.

The 28-year-old attacker has been in excellent form throughout the 2021/22 campaign and led by example with his performances.

Lawrence has made 28 appearances in all competitions and weighed in with a healthy return of nine goals.

In addition to his attacking abilities, he has shone in the role as Derby’s captain after Rooney made the decision to hand the armband to the former Manchester United youngster last summer.

Rooney’s side have battled against the odds this term, after being deducted a total of 21 points for entering administration and a historical breach of profitability and sustainability rules, but they have continued to chip away at their points total to have a chance to remaining in the Sky Bet Championship.

“Tom has been excellent and he really has led by example on the pitch,” Rooney told RamsTV after Derby’s 3-1 home win over Hull City on Tuesday.

“I know some people may have looked at the decision I made in the summer, when I made him captain, and thought it was a bit controversial - but I knew it was in Tom.

“I have known him for a long time, since he was a young lad at Manchester United, and I know how to get the best out of him.

“I think we are seeing his quality from an attacking point of view, but what sometimes goes unnoticed is the work rate and effort he is putting in during every game.”

He added: “Tom is playing almost every minute of every game and he’s a credit to himself.”

After joining Derby from Leicester City in the summer of 2017, Lawrence has recorded 174 appearances for the Rams and registered 34 goals.