How has Wayne Rooney fared in his opening 10 Derby matches?
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Wayne Rooney's move to Derby County was lambasted.

The veteran's choice of the No. 32 shirt was a shameless declaration of the transfer's commercial interests - Derby's sponsor is betting firm 32Red - and, from a footballing perspective, Rooney ambled into Pride Park after supposedly kicking back in Major League Soccer with D.C. United.

Now, with the controversial switch 10 matches old following Wednesday's trip to Bristol City, it seems a convenient juncture to assess Rooney's impact in the East Midlands. Has the arrival of Manchester United and England's all-time top scorer improved Derby, or was the deal a poor decision for both parties?

Here's a game-by-game analysis and overall conclusion of Rooney's efforts, starting with his debut against Barnsley:

Jan. 2: 2-1 win vs. Barnsley

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Two-and-a-half months after his final match for D.C. United, the Scouser impressed at the tip of a midfield diamond and was crucial for both of the Rams' goals. A Rooney free-kick was flicked home by Jack Marriott and one of the 34-year-old's splendid diagonal balls was the penultimate pass before Martyn Waghorn's first-time finish. The only disappointment for Rooney's evening was when his first attempt on goal as a Derby player - a headed effort - bounced off his shoulder and dribbled wide.

MINUTES PLAYED 97
Goals 0
Shots on target 0
Assists 1
Key passes 1
Touches 58
Passing accuracy 73.2%
Fouls committed 0

Rating: 7/10

Jan. 5: 1-0 win at Crystal Palace

Charlotte Wilson/Offside / Offside / Getty

Rooney drew widespread acclaim for his performance at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round. His partnership with Tom Huddlestone, who himself returned after three months on the sidelines, was extremely encouraging, but it was Rooney's distribution from the base of midfield - or sometimes from behind Derby's center-backs - that really caught the eye. Rooney's assurance and leadership against a Premier League side were promising and contributed to a result that gave a much-needed boost to his new club's wretched away form.

MINUTES PLAYED 101
Goals 0
Shots on target 1
Assists 0
Key passes 0
Touches 77
Passing accuracy 87.7%
Fouls committed 0

Rating: 8/10

Jan. 11: 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough

Richard Sellers - EMPICS / PA Images / Getty

"Derby are not all about Wayne Rooney," Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate told the Teesside Gazette before the match. "They have got some exceptional players." That wasn't the case in an opening half where Rooney and his colleagues were languid and fortunate to be just one goal down at the interval. Rooney played further up the pitch in the second period and Derby got into the game more, but it didn't prevent the match from being a painful reminder of why Phillip Cocu's men were languishing in 17th position in the Championship despite the recent uptick in form.

MINUTES PLAYED 97
Goals 0
Shots on target 0
Assists 0
Key passes 1
Touches 62
Passing accuracy 79.2%
Fouls committed 1

Rating: 6/10

Jan. 18: 1-0 win vs. Hull City

Mike Egerton - EMPICS / PA Images / Getty

Derby took the field with a possible deduction of up to 12 points hanging over their heads. Owner Mel Morris bought the club's ground for an apparently bloated £80-million sum in June 2018, enabling the Rams to post a dubious pre-tax profit in their 2017-18 accounts. Amid the controversy, Rooney overcame a slow start to influence a tight win over Hull. He was played higher up the park, where Derby looked to stop the Tigers' counter-attack at its source. "The more involved he is, the better Derby's play," Steve Nicholson wrote for the Derby Telegraph.

MINUTES PLAYED 99
Goals 0
Shots on target 0
Assists 0
Key passes 2
Touches 48
Passing accuracy 75.7%
Fouls committed 0

Rating: 7/10

Jan. 24: 0-0 draw at Northampton Town

ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP / Getty

Rooney survived Cocu's eight changes to the starting XI and completed his fifth successive match since becoming eligible for Derby. He almost jotted down an assist when Curtis Davies headed just over from one of his corners in the 51st minute, but it was a frustrating evening for Rooney and the Rams at Sixfields Stadium. Derby were overawed by fourth-tier Northampton's direct and physical approach and were lucky to escape with a replay.

MINUTES PLAYED 96
Goals 0
Shots on target 0
Assists 0
Key passes 2
Touches 63
Passing accuracy 78.7%
Fouls committed 1

Rating: 6/10

Jan. 28: 3-2 loss at Luton Town

Bradley Collyer - EMPICS / PA Images / Getty

Rooney was more advanced than usual, and he made amends for scuffing an earlier chance by scoring his first Derby goal from 20 yards via a generous deflection. The fact that the Bedfordshire bout was entertaining did little to lift the mood among the traveling fans, though, as Cocu's team fell to the Championship's bottom club. Just like in the previous match, the opposition showed more fight than Derby.

MINUTES PLAYED 98
Goals 1
Shots on target 2
Assists 0
Key passes 1
Touches 45
Passing accuracy 79.4%
Fouls committed 0

Rating: 7/10

Jan. 31: 4-0 win vs. Stoke City

Nathan Stirk / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Derby strengthened their league-best home record by trouncing Stoke City, with Rooney delivering his best performance yet. He was playing deeper again, posting searching passes around the park and prowling behind the frontmen during attacks. His free-kick was magnificent - a curling effort which nestled into Jack Butland's top corner - and Jayden Bogle emphatically converted Derby's fourth after he was released by Rooney's perfectly weighted pass. "I wasn't expecting to see him play like Pirlo!" Mountain Ram excitedly wrote on the DCFC Fans forum after the win.

MINUTES PLAYED 80
Goals 1
Shots on target 1
Assists 1
Key passes 3
Touches 64
Passing accuracy 88.2%
Fouls committed 0

Rating: 9/10

Feb. 4: 4-2 win vs. Northampton Town

Clive Mason / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Rooney notched his third goal in as many games against Northampton and was once again influential in the FA Cup tilt. The aging Englishman netted a penalty and sprayed several excellent passes in the tie to help set up an enticing last-16 squabble with Manchester United. With his form over eight matches in just over a month for Derby, few would've bet against Rooney playing a starring role against his former club in March.

MINUTES PLAYED 97
Goals 1
Shots on target 2
Assists 0
Key passes N/A
Touches N/A
Passing accuracy N/A
Fouls committed 0

N/A - Not all stats available for this fixture

Rating: 8/10

Feb. 8: 3-2 win at Swansea City

Athena Pictures / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Rooney was quiet by his recent high standards in Wales and was guilty of wasting possession, especially in the first half. But the 3-2 win provided clear evidence of progress at Derby: they had only lost once in their past eight league outings and it was their first away win since their opening game of the season on Aug. 5, 2019. Rooney was a key reason for the team-wide improvements at Derby, and the playoff positions were within reach.

MINUTES PLAYED 99
Goals 0
Shots on target 0
Assists 0
Key passes 0
Touches 79
Passing accuracy 73%
Fouls committed 1

Rating: 7/10

Feb. 12: 3-2 loss at Bristol City

Harry Trump / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Derby couldn't fashion their first back-to-back away wins in the league since January 2018 after a bright start at Ashton Gate deteriorated. Rooney was naturally at the center of the Rams' neat interplay, but their tidiness counted for nothing when the hosts followed Nahki Wells' close-range header with two more goals before the hour mark. Derby almost fought back to earn a point, with Rooney producing one near-perfect ball to Tom Lawrence that just missed, but it ultimately wasn't enough to atone for Derby's defensive vulnerabilities.

MINUTES PLAYED 98
Goals 0
Shots on target 0
Assists 0
Key passes 0
Touches 113
Passing accuracy 86%
Fouls committed 1

Rating: 7/10

How has Rooney fared in his first 10 matches?

Barrington Coombs - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

There were 149 days between the confirmation of Rooney's agreement with Derby and his debut against Barnsley, but it was worth the wait.

Rooney allows for a cleaner representation of the controlled possession game manager Cocu wants but with a cutting edge courtesy of his incisive passes from deep. His spot in the midfield also liberates a more mobile player alongside him, hence the recent upswing of Duane Holmes.

Additionally, Rooney brings leadership to the squad, an aspect which was lacking since former captain Richard Keogh's controversial knee injury and subsequent release from his contract. Rooney wearing the armband immediately raised standards around Pride Park.

His impact at Derby bears similarities to how he upped expectations when he arrived at D.C. United, as demonstrated by points per game statistics:

D.C. United in 2018 MLS season

PPG pre-Rooney PPG in Rooney's debut and beyond
0.79 2.00

Derby County in 2019-20 Championship season

PPG pre-Rooney PPG in Rooney's debut and beyond
1.2 1.86

In his final appearance for D.C. United last October, Rooney wasted three inviting opportunities in a matter of minutes and appeared to demand his own substitution when the result seemed out of reach. He looked like a spent force.

However, after 10 outings for Derby, his suggestion in December that he could still thrive in the Premier League doesn't seem so outlandish. He's transformed Derby, and fans are starting to believe the Rams could do the unthinkable and complete their climb into promotion contention. It's not as impossible as it once seemed.

Who knows - maybe we could have Rooney back in the Premier League sooner rather than later.

MINUTES PLAYED 962
Goals per 90 mins 0.3
Shots on target per 90 mins 0.6
Assists per 90 mins 0.2
Key passes per 90 mins 1.0
Touches per 90 mins 63.4
Passing accuracy per 90 mins 80.1%
Fouls committed per 90 mins 0.4

Rating: 7.2/10

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How has Wayne Rooney fared in his opening 10 Derby matches?
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