Date: 11th December 2020 at 12:40pm
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The Athletic’s Derby County reporter Ryan Conway discussed all of the latest Rams news during the most recent live stream that he has conducted on his YouTube channel. The journalist spent some time talking about caretaker Rams boss Wayne Rooney’s plans for Duane Holmes. 

Holmes, who’s been a Derby County player since the summer of 2018, has not made a plethora of appearances in a central midfield role which he favours this season. 

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To kick off this quiz on last weekend's EFL games, by how many goals did Derby County beat Millwall to take themselves off the bottom of the Championship table?

However, as explained by Conway during this live stream, following the sacking of Phillip Cocu last month, the interim coaching team that initially took charge of the Rams which included Rooney, did give him an opportunity to play centrally. 

The journalist has explained that this was a sign of Rooney’s intent to keep hold of the £2.52m-rated man, whose current contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

Here is what Conway said about Rooney’s plans for Holmes in full: “His preferred position is down the middle. He wants to play down the middle, and I think in the first game against Bristol City with Rosenior and Rooney in the co-management arrangement, I think them starting Holmes in the middle was them offering him an olive branch – because he’d been frozen out by Cocu for one reason or another. 

“I think them starting him down the middle against Bristol City was them going, ‘look, this is a clean slate for everybody, we’re going to play you in your preferred position, go and show us that you can do it.’ Obviously, his contract is up in six months as well and they want him to stick around.

“He was good as a ’10’ against Coventry and Wycombe, but this is the thing – they are loaded in the middle of the pitch right now. [Jason] Knight has done his best work in the middle and I think that’s where you want to keep him, because while both Holmes’ strengths and Knight’s strengths lie in the middle, I think actually, Holmes is stronger than Knight out wide.”

Do you think Holmes will be at Derby next season?

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TIF Thoughts on Conway’s comments on Rooney’s plans for Holmes…

If Rooney wants to tie Holmes down to a new Rams deal and if playing centrally is very important for the 26-year-old American, then perhaps it was a wise move to give him some game time in a central role following Cocu’s departure to send the message that he may have a future in a central role at Pride Park under new management. 

However, while Holmes played in central midfield against Bristol City and Middlesbrough, the Rams lost both of those games and Holmes has mainly played at right-midfield since then

So, the player may not have done himself much favours with regard to getting more game time in central midfield moving forward, while it also may not be a great sign for his future in the central-midfield position that he’s mainly played on the right since the first two games following Cocu’s departure. 

As a result, perhaps there are still some question marks over Holmes’ Rams future, even if Rooney does still want to keep him at the club.