Wayne Rooney bans his players from talking with two ex-teammates before their upcoming game against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night.
The Derby boss has told his players not to speak to former team-mates Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes until after they play the Terriers.
The two sides meet at Pride Park, which is available to watch live on Sky Sports Football Red Button from 7pm, with Huddersfield sitting 18th in the Championship table, just two points and one place above Derby as they look to pull away from the relegation zone.
🗣 “I don’t want to see any of my players speaking to them before the game. They can catch up afterwards”
— BBC Derby Sport (@BBCDerbySport) February 22, 2021
Former Rams captain Richard Keogh had his contract terminated with immediate effect back in October 2019 on the grounds of gross misconduct after he suffered a serious knee injury in that much talked about car crash.
Derby team-mates Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett pleading guilty to drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident following the incident.
Keogh was a passenger in the back seat of one of the vehicles, with Derby then confirming they are set to appeal against an employment tribunal decision which felt Keogh was unfairly dismissed and ordered Derby to pay £2m in compensation.
Keogh recently departed MK Dons and Holmes quit Derby for Huddersfield in the January transfer window and now the pair will come face to face with Derby for the first time since leaving the club.
“I am sure for Richard Keogh and Duane Holmes they are two players who will be coming back and focusing on their jobs for Huddersfield,” said Wayne Rooney as he bans players talking to ex-Rams stars.
“I have said to my players I don’t want to see anyone speaking to them before the game. If they want to speak and catch up, they can do that after the game but before the game we have to focus on our jobs.
“We have to focus on ourselves, and that’s it. After the game they can talk about what they want, but before the game it is important we keep our attention and focus.”
“These are big games and ones that we know, if we do our jobs right, we are capable of winning,” Rooney told RamsTV on the upcoming fixtures.
“But also, if we are complacent, and we don’t do well in how we set up and our jobs then we can lose points in them as well.
“We will be ready; we have prepared well and it is a big week again for us in terms of trying to get six points.”
On Tuesday’s opponents, who defeated Swansea 4-1 on Saturday to claim their first victory of 2021, Rooney added: “It was a good win for them against Swansea and it will be a tough game.
“They set up man-to-man and try to make it difficult and get in your face, so we have to play our game. We have planned well and we will be ready for the challenge.”
“I’m still obviously disappointed with the result, but I think we showed enough in the game to move forward and I believe and know we are a good team,” Rooney said when asked about his reflections a few days on.
“I am pleased the next match has come around fairly quickly and it is a chance for us to pick up more points.
“I was disappointed in the manner of the two goals we conceded in the space of a few minutes, but the reaction towards the end of the first half and throughout the second half was good.
“We kept pushing, pulled a goal back and I think on another day we would come away with a point.”
Derby will be hoping to get back to winning ways after falling to a 2-1 defeat at promotion-chasing Watford on Friday night, while Huddersfield will be keen to continue their fine form of goalscoring that saw them thrash Swansea 4-1 in their last game.
Fans reacted as Wayne Rooney bans his players from talking to ex-teammates before the game…
— 🎙The Ramswriter Podcast🎙 (@ramswriter) February 23, 2021
@derbytwits: This is expected even at grassroots level, how it should be.
@fearsatanremix: The Keogh issue was really badly handled by Morris . It’s going to leave us paying out a lot of money in compensation that we don’t have .
@adamcm88: All for this! Crunch right into them. They’ll be wanting to beat us badly so get right into em. After the game when we’ve won, no probs
@JustLzw: Couldn’t be any more spot on with that, players should be wanting to kill one another during that game to win, not chat like they’re mothers in a meeting. This is the mentality more managers need
@scottwdickens: Absolutely bang on well said.
@bunts_sam: Like that attitude! Should be the case
@nath90shaw: Ridiculous mentality from Wazza. Derby going places with this sort of leadership #dcfcfans
@KCFlanagan: Spot on again Wayne. We don’t care about Keogh or Holmes. We don’t care what they’re thinking or feeling. They’re not Derby. We are. Keep the focus on u
@mikegcarter88: Blokes a born winner!
@ARamwithaHat: This is a Roy Keane type mentality and i love it. They aren’t here to meet up, they’re here for work and to get points. They can have the chat if they win
@robertswjake: It’s the exact sort of attitude we want at the club, there’s never really any reason to be friendly with the opposition before a game
@Wxrdyy16: I don’t think we’ve had a more elite minded manager than Wayne Rooney
@kinggddavid: Honestly my kind of mentality this
@_tm0991: Fuck Richard Keogh
@ScottGretton: Brilliant to hear Rooney saying he doesn’t want our players to talk to keogh and Holmes. Don’t understand when the culture changed from Keane vs Vieira prickliness to fist bumping each other. I prefer the former. Adds drama to the game too @BBCDerbySport
@IDCluroe: Shaping up to be a great manager, @WayneRooney
@RyanSharp93: Love that attitude
@woodwardio79: That’s why Rooney played, and was successful at the very highest level.
@Andrew_Bailey_1: Exactly that. They are the enemy until after the game.