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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker: Pride Park a tough place visit

last updated Friday 21st February 2020, 4:23 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker

Scott Parker
Scott Parker
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Fulham Head Coach Scott Parker knows it’s no accident that Wayne Rooney’s arrival at Derby County has coincided with an upturn in form.

The Rams have won four and drawn two of their eight matches since England’s record scorer officially joined at the start of January – form which has reignited what seemed to be diminishing hopes of a Play-Off place.

“He’s made a massive impact, I think you can see that, certainly in the way they’re playing,” Parker said.

“When you bring a player of Wayne’s calibre into your football club, he brings a certain mentality, as well as the quality he has as a footballer which we all know.

“I’m sure he’s bringing another dynamic which a team like Derby have probably never seen before.

“You like to think that when you bring players like that in, he’ll be scooping a few up along the way and a few will be following what he does, because that’s what happens when you bring world class players in.

“With a player who’s got a winning mentality and who has been there and done it, I’ve no doubt that he’ll be a huge success there, and that’s why Wayne’s had a big impact.”

Parker faced Rooney many times in his playing days, and also shared a dressing room with him when the pair were on England duty together.

“He’s a different player now,” Parker stated. “He’s an older player now, and the qualities he has are very different.

“When you’re a world class player, you realise and work out quickly how you can still be effective in a football match, and Wayne’s done that incredibly well.

“When you watch him play now, he can grab the game by the scruff of the neck and really take control of a football match from a deeper area. That’s what I’ve seen from their last few games whilst analysing ahead of this one.

“He’s different now, of course. What I used to see and what we all used to see isn’t what Wayne does now, but he’s still mightily effective.”

Fulham’s clash with Derby at the Cottage in November was one of our more comfortable victories this season, but Parker is expecting a different beast on Friday night from a side who would be joint-top if only home fixtures counted.

“They’re a totally different team to the one we played earlier on in the season,” he admitted. “They’ve got the second best home form in the division.

“It’s always a tough place to go, Pride Park, and even more so now because Derby are on a good run.

“They’re doing really well, so it will be a tough, tough place to go, I have no doubt.”

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