Wayne Rooney’s return to England has gotten off to a strong start, as the former D.C. United man led his new club Derby County to another win in his second appearance for the Rams – this time a hefty upset in the FA Cup.
Rooney went the full 90 minutes for Derby as the English Championship club traveled to London and knocked off Premier League side Crystal Palace 1-0 in third-round action on Sunday. It’s his second game in under a week after also going the distance in his debut, Thursday’s 2-1 win over Barnsley in league play.
Interestingly, the 34-year-old has occupied a deep-lying central-midfield role in both games, influencing the game with intelligent positioning and cultured distribution.
“The 34-year-old former England captain rarely stretched his legs beyond a canter, but he was the heartbeat of Derby's threat,” wrote the BBC’s Timothy Abraham of Rooney. “Explosiveness and attacking swagger has characterised the bulk of Rooney's career, but this was a display embodied by poise, temperament and guile.”
US men's national team hopeful Duane Holmes came off the bench to help the Rams, who currently occupy 17th place in the 24-team Championship, see out their impressive victory.
Elsewhere in England, US youth internationals Luca de la Torre and Indiana Vassilev both earned substitute appearances in Saturday’s FA Cup clash between Fulham and Aston Villa.
Vassilev’s 80th-minute replacement of Marvelous Nakamba marked his first-team debut for the Villains, while de le Torre came on for Ivan Cavaleiro a few minutes later as his Cottagers banked a 2-1 upset win over their Premier League visitors, paced by two gorgeous goals from Anthony Knockaert and Harry Arter.
Meanwhile, American Lynden Gooch starred for Sunderland in one of the few league fixtures during this FA Cup window, scoring twice in a 3-1 League One win over Lincoln City: