New Direction? Derby boss Wayne Rooney invites former One Direction pop star Niall Horan into pre-season training… with the Rams fan confident he can see what the former Manchester United striker ‘is trying to do shape-wise’ at Pride Park
- Wayne Rooney had been exchanging text messages with pop star Niall Horan
- Derby boss invited the former One Direction singer along to pre-season
- Horan admitted he was pleased at the work Rooney was doing at the club
- Rams will be hoping for better fortunes this term after horrific 2020-21 season
Derby County may have struggled to stay in the Championship last season, but manager Wayne Rooney believes he may have found the ticket to get them heading in the right direction again.
The Rams only secured survival in the second tier on the final day of the season after drawing 3-3 with Sheffield Wednesday, having won just one of their last 15 games under the former Manchester United striker.
Rooney took over a club in turmoil mid-season following the dismissal of Phillip Cocu in November when the Rams were rooted to the bottom of the Championship.
Pop star Niall Horan (left) was invited to Derby County’s pre-season by boss Wayne Rooney
Horan is a well known Derby County supporter and was delighted to watch the Rams close up
Since then the club has been in a crisis off the pitch as well as on it, with two failed takeover bids and surviving a potential points deduction after breaching financial rules.
Having escaped with a £100,000 fine and a warning for the breach earlier in July, the Rams will now be hoping better times lie ahead.
Rooney has since attempted to lighten the mood at Pride Park by inviting former One Direction pop star Niall Horan to the club for pre-season training.
Rooney and Horan previously met when the singer was with One Direction, with the duo posing for a photograph behind a Manchester United shirt in 2015 when the Rams’ boss was playing for the Red Devils
The singer is a big Rams supporter and admitted that he was encouraged by the system and style of play Rooney was planning having watched pre-season following a series of text exchanges which led to an invite at the club.
‘I was texting Wayne and he said come down and have a watch,’ he told Derby’s website.
‘The players had an 11 v 11 game and after seeing that, you see what Wayne is trying to do shape-wise.
‘I’ve been a Derby fan since I can remember so to have the opportunity to come down and watch the stuff behind the scenes is amazing.
Rooney helped Derby off the bottom of the Championship last season to keep them in the division following a final day 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday
‘Watching him in a meeting and coaching, you can’t help thinking “that is Wayne Rooney out there, Manchester United and England’s greatest scorer, and he’s the manager of our football club”.’
Derby will be hoping to drastically move up the Championship table this term, but will begin their pre-season with a tough clash against Rooney’s former side United on Sunday at Pride Park.
They round the month off with a trip to Salford City and hosting Spanish side Real Betis before visiting nearby Notts County at the start of August.
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