Ex-Portsmouth favourites feature in Wayne Rooney's Derby debut against Barnsley

All eyes were on Wayne Rooney’s Derby County debut last night.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:45 am
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:45 am

England’s all-time top scorer made his long-awaited bow for the Rams nearly four months after signing against Barnsley.

And there were two former Pompey favourites also involved to share the moment.

One of Rooney’s team-mates at Pride Park, of course, is Matt Clarke. The centre-back departed the Blues at the end of last season to join Brighton, but was then sent out on loan to the Championship outfit to garner more experience.

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After coming back from injury in their 2-1 win over Charlton on Monday, Clarke again started and helped Phillip Coco’s side to another victory by the same scoreline.

Clarke went agonisingly close to his first Derby goal in the second half when his header was superbly tipped onto the post by visiting keeper Samuel Radlinger.

On the losing side of Rooney's maiden Rams appearance was Fratton youth product Conor Chaplin.

The striker departed the south coast in August 2018 because of a lack of regular first-team opportunities and joined Coventry for £500,000.

Former Pompey duo Matt Clarke and Conor Chaplin featured in Wayne Rooney's debut for Derby. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

After just one season with the Sky Blues, scoring eight times in 33 appearances, he was snapped by the Tykes during the summer.

Chaplin's hit a purple patch of late and in total has bagged eight goals in 25 games.

He also played a key part in Barnsley’s equaliser when his stabbed effort was fumbled by home stopper Ben Hamer, which left Elliot Simoes with an easy finish.