Wayne Rooney believes extra responsibility has upped Tom Lawrence’s game

Derby County v Hull City – Sky Bet Championship – Pride Park
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Derby boss Wayne Rooney revealed how his decision to promote Tom Lawrence is helping the forward lead the Rams’ fight for Championship survival.

Rooney reckons making him captain has lifted his game and Lawrence shone again, scoring and assisting as Hull were beaten 3-1 to leave Derby only four points from safety.

Hull began well with Keane Lewis-Potter forcing Ryan Allsop into a flying save in the fourth minute but Derby took control after Craig Forsyth headed in Jason Knight’s cross in the 19th minute.

They pressed strongly and moved the ball quickly to put Hull under pressure and deserved the second which Lawrence turned in after Matt Ingram could only parry Festy Ebosele’s low cross.

Any hope Hull had vanished in the 47th minute when Lawrence played Ebosele in and his low shot flashed past Ingram and inside the far post.

Hull pulled a goal back in the 65th minute when Forsyth could only divert a Lewis-Potter cross past Allsop but a comeback never really looked on and Derby saw the game out to keep their dream of Championship survival alive.

Lawrence has now scored nine in all competitions and Rooney said: “He’s been excellent.

“I knew at the start of the season when I made him captain that some people would have said it was a controversial decision.

“But I’ve known Tom for a long time and know what he’s capable of and knew that by giving him that extra responsibility it would up his game.

“He’s a player who wants to be challenged and I think Tom is probably in the best form he’s been in for a long time.

“He’s scoring goals, creating goals but the other side of it which people don’t really see that much is his work-rate is incredible.

“He’s playing almost every minute of every game and although he’s had issues in the past with getting cramp a lot, he’s really worked hard on his diet and he’s been magnificent.”

Hull suffered their second consecutive defeat.

Head coach Shota Arveladzer said: “It’s difficult for me to explain why we were so weak at things that we are really good at.

“Like team work, winning the first and second ball we are good at but today we lost those kind of balls.

“We started well and things were going the way we talked about. We spoke about some things which worked well but then after the goal we lose every ball and every bounce was for Derby.

“Then the second goal we have three players looking to each other. As I say we are good on team work and working hard but today was disappointing.”

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