''Romero Should Have Allowed Me To Score!'' - Rooney
March. 06, 2020
Player and coach of Derby County Wayne Rooney hopes his teenage team-mates will learn from the experience of playing Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round as he praised the goalkeeping heroics of Sergio Romero.
Derby lost 3-nil to United at Pride Park on Thursday, with Luke Shaw opening the scoring before Odion Ighalo's brace secured a quarter-final trip to Norwich City.
Derby captain Rooney was going against his former side and came closest to getting the Rams on the scoresheet, but his stoppage-time free-kick touched over by Romero.
“Sergio was not in a kind mood,” Rooney said after the final whistle. “He could have let that one in. It would have been nice it wasn’t to be.”
The former United captain was joined on the pitch by a trio of young prospects in midfield – Max Bird, 19, Louie Sibley, 18, and Jason Knight, 19 – who impressed in spells.
And Rooney was encouraged by what he saw despite the disappointment of defeat.
"Obviously Manchester United are a good team and we wanted to try to win," United's record goalscorer told BT Sport .
"I think the draw was quite favourable for ourselves or Manchester United, whoever got through, and they were the better team on the night.
"But I have to say for our younger players, what an experience for them, and they didn't disappoint. They had some great moments today, and this game, although we lost, will do them the world of good."
Asked to assess the gap between the teams, he added: "That's the level, the difference in them handling the ball. There was always going to be that difference.
"We had to take our moments, which we had, but unfortunately we didn't. We didn't let anyone down tonight. We gave everything and, unfortunately, just came up short."
Rooney suggests he is also learning in the Championship as he takes on new duties under manager Phillip Cocu.
"Of course you can still learn," he said. "It's a different league to what I'm used to, different ambitions.
"Obviously, at Manchester United, you're always thriving to win trophies. At Derby, we're thriving to try to get promotion. It is different. And my role as a coach, trying to balance them, is different.
"It's something I'm really enjoying. I'm enjoying playing football first of all – I'm feeling good, I want to continue doing that – but also that transition period of going from player to coach.
"The manager's been fantastic with me and I want to keep learning and keep trying to improve myself."