Reading FC manager Paul Ince believes Derby County boss Wayne Rooney should be awarded Player of the Month.

The former Manchester United great took over the Rams in 2020 but after much financial difficulty the Midlands outfit succumbed to League One relegation.

Former First Division champions in the 1970s, Derby County were docked 21 points over the course of the season and needed to better the Royals’ result on Easter Monday to survive for another week.

Tom McIntyre’s last-minute equaliser in the incredible 4-4 draw with Swansea City broke Derby hearts, who conceded in the 88th minute to lose 1-0 at QPR.


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Speaking after the comeback, Ince had nothing but praise for England’s record goal scorer and his team.

He said: “When I was given the job at Reading a lot of people raised their eyebrows, and that was probably a similar situation with Wazza [Wayne Rooney] at Derby. What he’s shown is that he’s more than capable of being a top, top manager. To get to this point of the season and just get relegated now shows what a great job he’s done.

“When these awards come out at the end of the season, they’ll probably give it to Marco Silva at Fulham, but it should go to Wayne Rooney or Nathan Jones. The job’s they’re doing on the budget and financial situation is a no brainer. That shows how well Wayne has done as a manager.

“He'll be hurting now, but hopefully they get new owners and can start a project to get this great club back to the Premier League.”


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Academy graduate McIntyre scored two over the Bank Holiday weekend to earn the club four points, a crucial tally which looks to keep the side in the Championship.

Sending the Rams down with his draw at the SCL Stadium on Monday, the Wokingham-born defender was very matter of fact about the situation.

He added: “It’s a shame for them but football is dog eat dog, it was us or them so I’m not feeling any type of way about it.”

It will be the first time that the Pride Park outfit will be playing in the third tier since 1985/86, the season that Reading won the first 13 matches on the bounce to gain promotion to the second tier.

Relegation ends their 15-year stint in the Championship, with East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest the next longest-running club in the second division.