Jones praises 'legend' Wayne Rooney for galvanising Rams despite double points deduction

County head to Kenilworth Road fighting for their Championship lives

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 26th February 2022, 11:40 am
Updated Saturday, 26th February 2022, 11:42 am
Derby boss Wayne Rooney
Derby boss Wayne Rooney

Luton boss Nathan Jones has praised the job that footballing ‘legend’ Wayne Rooney has done to give this afternoon's opponents Derby County a chance of staying up in the Championship this season.

The Rams have been deducted 21 points over the course of the campaign after first going into administration and then penalised once more for historical financial breaches under former owner Mel Morris.

Unsurprisingly it saw them fall to the foot of the table, however, a run of six wins from 12 has given the Rams a slim hope of avoiding relegation, as they go into this today's fixture eight points adrift of fourth bottom Reading, with 13 games to go.

Discussing the impact his opposite number, who is also Manchester United and England's record goalscorer after a stellar playing career, has had at Pride Park this term, Jones said: “He's done a magnificent job and under difficult circumstances.

"This season they've been superb, they've got good people, Liam Rosenior (assistant manager), the players, it seems to have galvanised them more than anything.

"So maybe, it's done them a favour, I don’t think that, but it seems to have galvanised them.

"You see that when people get points deductions and it goes one of two ways, they can either capitulate or if they've got a good leader in which Wayne is, then they can go the other way.

“You see some of the interviews and he’s got them playing.

"The man’s a legend as a player and he’s proving he’s very adept at managing.

"If you can lead people and get them to buy into something, that's all it’s about,.

"But a good manager is only as good as a staff and his players, because no matter how good a manager you are if you have players who don't want to work hard for you, don't want to perform, that don't accept certain things and can’t handle adversity, you’re doomed."

Had County not had the points deductions this term, they would be sitting in 15th position, well clear of the relegation zone.

Jones knows it means they are a dangerous opponent for the Hatters, as he continued: "They're a good side, there's no bad sides in the Championship.

"We played Barnsley the other day and we won the game, but that (2-1 win at Stoke) was more comfortable game than Barnsley at home and they're in a categorically different position.

“Their form all season has been decent, they’d be top half of the table if they hadn’t had the points deductions.

"They’ve lost against Millwall, they’ll have to dust themselves down, but any team that comes to Kenilworth Road knows they’re in for a game.

"As long as we’re at it, as long as we are the best version of ourselves, that’s all I can ask for.

"So there's no easy games in the Champions, especially when you've got to go relentless, relentless, relentless all the time.

"It’s a tough league, so we've got to dust ourselves down, see where we go and then were at home.”

Town head to Kenilworth Road on the back of a seven game unbeaten run on home soil, as Jones added: “We're confident, and we have belief, that's what we have.

"We’re not arrogant, we've got belief in what we do and we’ll continue that."