Derby fails to rise to occasion on Rooney's dugout debut
England's record goalscorer Rooney had a disappointing start in his new role as player-coach of Derby as it was held 1-1 at home by QPR in its Championship clash.
Derby County player-manager Wayne Rooney is unveiled on the pitch before his team's match with QPR.
England's record goalscorer Wayne Rooney had a disappointing start in his new role as player-coach of Derby as it was held 1-1 at home by QPR in its Championship clash on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Manchester United great took his place in the dugout for the first time alongside Dutch manager Phillip Cocu, although he is not permitted to play until January.
Martyn Waghorn's delightful goal for Derby was cancelled out by Ebere Eze converting a penalty for his seventh goal of the season.
The draw — which ended a run of five successive home wins — leaves the Rams 14 points behind second-placed West Brom and six points off the play-off places.
Leeds tops the table after a double by Mateusz Klich inspired it to a fine 4-0 home win over Middlesbrough for its fifth successive victory.
Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, bidding to return to the Premier League for the first time since being relegated in 2004, has a one-point lead over West Brom.
West Brom can go back to the top if it beats Preston away on Monday.
Cocu said he thinks Rooney's presence is going to make life difficult for Derby as opponents will want to up their game.
“Especially from the moment he (Rooney) is on the pitch... a manager can use it for his team,” said Cocu. “Of course, they will lift their game to show how they can play against him so that's something we have to be ready for.”
Cocu's thoughts were echoed by his QPR counterpart Mark Warburton.
“We used that, some of the press comments said we were almost cannon fodder today,” he said. “But the players are professional athletes and they get angered by certain comments.
“I read one statement that basically said Derby couldn't have a better game today so that was great for us.”