Former DC United striker Wayne Rooney made his playing return in England last night. Playing in central midfield for his latest club Derby County against Barnsley in The Championship, the 34-year-old’s free-kick provided an assist for Jack Marriott to open the scoring from 12 yards.
But relegation strugglers Barnsley struck back to level matters before Derby under Dutch coach Phillip Cocu clinched the points thanks to Martin Waghorn’s 57th minute winner.
Cocu had no hesitation putting Rooney into the side as captain, as soon as the former England international was available to play.
In an unremarkable first-half in front of 27,782 fans, Rooney orchestrated the play, and towards the end of the game miscued a header wide when he might have done better. Perhaps his timing is not yet fully adjusted.
Rooney’s Derby debut was the 724th club game of his career.
After struggling for form this term, Derby started the match closer to the Championship relegation zone than the play-off places, but their win moved them to eight points off the play-off places.
Last Monday’s win against Charlton was their first victory in eight games, with Rooney in the dugout as a coach for seven of those matches.
England’s all-time record goalscorer, Rooney won the Premier League five times, the Champions League, the FA Cup and three League Cups in 13 years with Manchester United and is now off to a winning start (as a player) in his first spell in England’s second tier.