On a disappointing night for Derby County, Wayne Rooney singled out the Republic of Ireland youth international Louie Watson for praise.
After a steady enough start to 2020, Wayne Rooney watched his much-changed Derby County fall 4-0 to Mick McCarthy's Cardiff City on Tuesday night.
A result that moves the former Republic of Ireland manager and his Cardiff team into the playoff places of the Championship, Rooney's side stand nine points clear of the relegation places with each of the bottom three having played at least one game fewer.
Disappointed but not disheartened when sharing his post-match reflections on the game, the Manchester United and England legend singled out a Republic of Ireland youth international for praise.
Wayne highlighted Louie Watson as a positive from tonight's performance, saying:
𝗪𝗥: 🗣 "Louie came on and was brave. He took the ball, had good movement off the ball, moved us forward, and he’s given me something to think about for Saturday."#DCFC pic.twitter.com/wICVpPFHIz
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) March 2, 2021
"I think the lads who were brought on did really well," Rooney told Derby County's Rams TV in the aftermath of Tuesday's game.
"It is not easy to come on and I was hesitant bringing them on because to come on at 3-0 [down], it is difficult to come on and try to have an impact on the game.
"Especially Louie Watson though, I thought he was fantastic. He took the ball, he was brave and breaking lines with his passes and gave us something different."
A 19-year-old midfielder who joined Derby County from West Ham United earlier this season, he has a two-year deal with the club that runs until the summer of 2022.
Largely a feature of the club's U23s since moving to Pride Park, he made his first team debut for Rooney in a 4-0 defeat of Birmingham City in January.
Born in London, he has previously represented England and then Ireland at underage level. Most recently, he played for Ireland's U18s in a 2019 drawn friendly against Turkey in Istanbul.
After his impressive contribution on Tuesday evening, Wayne Rooney subsequently commented that the Irish-eligible midfielder "had given me something to think about for Saturday."
Derby County will continue to move further away from the drop zone against relegation threatened Coventry City on Saturday afternoon.