Last night The Rams faced their toughest pre-season challenge, on home soil to Premier League side Sunderland.
I couldn’t attend the game so I sent a tweet out asking if any Derby fans would be willing to send in a few post match thoughts for my blog. @Popsider (Jonahan Rodgers) agreed to send his thoughts on the game, here they are-
Here are my thoughts on the match overall and how each player fared (never been one for match reports).
Overall, I thought it was a great performance, definitely a step up from last season. I reckon a draw was a fair result but, while Sunderland nearly overran us in the final 20 mins (during which they scored), we were certainly the better side for much of the game.
Man of the match was without a doubt, Will Hughes. This was the first time I’ve seen him play and I was amazed. He has brilliant control and passing ability and there were times when he dominated proceedings in the centre of midfield. To do that at 17 years old in your first start in a game against a Premier League side is nothing short of outstanding. Short simple passes, enthusiasm, work rate and one great tackle and driving run into the box in the second half. Fantastic.
Fielding, Brayford, Buxton and Naylor were pretty solid throughout. I think Naylor deserves special credit for playing completely out of position at left back (presumably O’Connor has joined Roberts on the treatment table). I don’t think I saw him use his left foot once and I don’t think this helped Jacobs’ effectiveness on the left flank.
Keogh had a good game and showed some of the qualities that might make him a great player for us over the next few seasons. He certainly made a couple of mistakes in the first half, both leading to goalscoring opportunities for Sunderland. Also, his distribution was sometimes a bit variable to say the least. Having said that, I thought he marshalled his team well, made some great Shackell like headed clearances and went about his job in a determined manner.
I thought Coutts was another standout player, clearly confident and skilful on the ball, I think he’ll be a good creative player for us this season. The fact that he can also slot into central midfield is also a bonus. All for £150,000!
Hendrick had a good game, despite losing possession twice in dangerous positions early in the first half. He was very good going forward and appears to have grown a few inches since last season.
Ward was his usual pugnacious hard working self, nearly scored with a few long range shots in the first half. Not sure his best position is striker though and I still think we need a big lump of a striker to play alongside Tyson or Theo.
Talking of Theo.. I thought he had a poor game and seemed a bit disinterested at times. I’m sure it was a one off.
Jacobs was also quite anonymous in the first half but he came into the game a bit more in the second. Clearly is a quality player and has a cultured right foot. However, so has Coutts. Not sure left wing is his best position, never saw him get to the byline and put a cross in. Very useful on set pieces though.
Talking of which, Hoganson deserves a special mention for his cross for the goal. Perfect. Perhaps a future candidate for left wing?!
Have I missed anyone? Aah yes. Tyson did well when he came on and scored a great goal. I think that’ll be a weight off his shoulders.
Onwards and upwards.
Thanks Jonathan for your post match thoughts, follow him on twitter @popsider.