As Wayne Rooney continued his impressive start to football management last night, England's record goal-scorer demonstrated a tactical ruthlessness at the mid-way point in Derby County's 2-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town.
Derby County were already 1-0 up as Wayne Rooney sat his players down at half-time in Tuesday night's clash with a concerned Huddersfield Town side.
Two teams at the wrong end of the Championship table, Derby have nevertheless taken 31 points from the 54 available to Rooney since he took over first on an interim basis back in November.
Sitting two points shy of Huddersfield ahead of this week's game, one would have expected the ex-Manchester United striker to be happy with what he had seen from his team at the mid-way point.
This was far from the case, however.
Both George Edmundson, who had given Rooney's team the lead, and Lee Gregory were hooked off at half-time after the manager spotted something in their opponent's set-up he had not accounted for.
"First half, we found it tough the way Huddersfield set up," he explained after a win that moved Derby eight points clear of the relegation places, "especially with their wing backs.
"They pushed our wing backs right back, so we struggled a little bit with that. I felt I had to make a change at half time to help us get a bit more on the front foot and try and be more of a threat going forward."
For Edmundson, particularly, Rooney's decision required careful explanation.
"I explained to them at half time it was something I had to do for the team," he said. "It is not nice, and I hope the two of them are disappointed about coming off but it was nothing to do with their performance.
"It was a decision that was purely tactical which I would have regretted had I not done it. I said to the players at half time tactically I got it wrong. I have no shame in saying that. I had to change it."
After recording a fourth successive league win, Wayne Rooney will have even greater reason to feel vindicated after Martyn Waghorn, one of the players brought on at half-time, scored Derby's second goal to secure a vital win ahead of this Friday's clash with rivals Nottingham Forest.
You can watch full match highlights below.
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