Rooney’s tactics and Derby spirit keep West Brom at bay

There was no shortage of hugs, slaps on the back and beaming smiles between one of the young heroes grappling with County Derby and a senior locker room figure as they retreated into the tunnel of West Bromwich Albion after a courageous point won against the championship leaders at the start of the season.

It was no surprise to see an exuberant Lee Buchanan among the last visitors to leave the pitch – the 20-year-old had been exceptional in putting firmly and quickly behind him Friday night’s mistake in the loss to Birmingham City .

That it was Ravel Morrison who praised him was particularly telling, however, when it came to understanding the team spirit Wayne Rooney is forging amid the commotion off the pitch at Pride Park. .

At first glance, this might not appear to be abnormal. But the well-traveled midfielder – who had started all five of the previous league games after his summer arrival – was doing it well that he didn’t play a minute into the night after being sacrificed as part of a considerable tactical reshuffle of his manager.

Rooney deserves praise here for a bold selection and roster change.

Skipper Tom Lawrence was another to give way – a huge call, especially considering the scarcity of options available – as Rooney abandoned 4-2-3-1 and paired Valérien Ismael with a formation of 3-4-3. It was a tactic he adopted against Ishmael’s high flight


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