Derby County news: Rooney offers update on Beni Baningime's situation

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It is fair to say that the 2020/21 campaign has been a tough watch for Derby County supporters as their side have struggled for consistency in the Championship.

Following a dismal start to the season which eventually culminated in the sacking of Phillip Cocu, the Rams opted to take a punt on Wayne Rooney by handing him his first permanent managerial role earlier this year.

Whilst the 35-year-old did initially make a positive start to tenure by winning five of his first seven games in charge, Derby have since hit a stumbling block in the second-tier.

Without a win since their triumph over Huddersfield Town at the end of February, the Rams are now in danger of being dragged into a relegation dogfight in the closing stages of the season.

Whereas the likes of Teden Mengi, Patrick Roberts and George Edmundson have all been given opportunities to prove their worth since joining Derby on loan during the previous transfer window, Beni Baningime has struggled to adapt to life in the second-tier.

Signed on a temporary deal from Everton last month, the midfielder has been limited to just two appearances due to the presence of Jason Knight, Max Bird and Graeme Shinnie.

Making reference to Baningime, Rooney has insisted that the club's precarious position in the Championship standings is the main reason why he hasn't given the 22-year-old more game-time in recent weeks.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph about the loanee, the Rams boss said: "He has been training really well.

"You bring a player in and you want to try and give them time to impress, but at the minute the way we have been going it has been hard for me to give him minutes.

"I think the middle of the pitch is a very important position for the team and it is just picking the right time for him to come in and take the chance when he does."

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When you consider that Derby are 19th in the Championship standings and just five points clear of the relegation zone, it is hardly surprising that Rooney is looking to rely on players who are experienced at this level during the closing stages of the season.

Given that Baningime's only start for the Rams to date saw him record an underwhelming WhoScored match rating of 6.16 in the club's 4-0 defeat to Cardiff City, it is clear that he has yet to adapt to the life in the second-tier.

Despite being forced to watch on from the sidelines for the majority of his loan spell, the midfielder will still be determined to force his way into Derby's side.

Providing that the Rams are able to pick up their performance levels following the international break and thus retain their second-tier status for another season, Baningime may be given another chance to shine by Rooney before he rejoins Everton in the summer.

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