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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

Rooney hails 'fantastic' Knight after awarding Derby County captaincy to Irish youngster

The 19-year-old midfielder from Dublin wore the armband in his side’s defeat to Rotherham United.

JASON KNIGHT WANTS to ensure that today’s outing as Derby County captain will go down as the first of many, but the midfielder expressed his frustration after the personal milestone was marred by a disappointing defeat.

The Rams remain in the Championship’s relegation zone after losing 1-0 at home to Rotherham United.

derby-county-v-rotherham-united-sky-bet-championship-pride-park Derby County's Jason Knight wearing the captain's armband. Source: PA

It was a significant occasion in Knight’s young career nevertheless, as he was awarded the captaincy by Wayne Rooney for the former Manchester United star’s first game as permanent Derby manager.

The 19-year-old Dubliner – who has three senior Ireland caps – was playing in his 60th game for the club, having made his first-team debut only 17 months ago.

“A big honour for me to represent the club like that,” he told Derby County’s official website. “It’s something I’ve tried to get from the start and hopefully I can keep it more often, but we need to worry about getting good results on the pitch first.

“He [Rooney] just said ‘enjoy it and don’t do anything you don’t do otherwise’, so I was just playing my normal game and trying to do my best. I need to keep doing that.”

Derby, who sit four points above bottom club Wycombe Wanderers, will look to rebound at home to Bournemouth on Tuesday night. They then face a trip to QPR next Saturday. 

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“It was very frustrating,” Knight said of today’s defeat to Rotherham. “We know we need to be better and we will be better, but we need to improve on the ball and off the ball as well.

“We didn’t do the basics right at all today and that’s something we pride ourselves on. We need to get back to that on Tuesday and Saturday.”

derby-county-v-rotherham-united-sky-bet-championship-pride-park Wayne Rooney pictured during Derby County's defeat to Rotherham United. Source: PA

Rooney paid tribute to Knight afterwards, explaining that he earned the captaincy in the absence of David Marshall, who was ill, and the injured Curtis Davies.

“I think he deserves it,” said the new Derby boss. “His attitude in training and his performances have been first-class. He deserved to wear the armband today. Jason is a fantastic player and he is doing really well for us.”

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Paul Dollery

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