Considering Derby County’s well documented off-field issues, Wayne Rooney’s side have actually started the new season in relatively impressive form, winning one, drawing two and losing one of their opening four Championship fixtures thus far.
As such, while the competition will not likely have been high in the 35-year-old manager’s list of priorities this season, it will nevertheless have come as a blow to lose in the Carabao Cup second round against Sheffield United on Tuesday evening, particularly as the Rams put in a decent display in the 2-1 loss.
Over the course of the 90 minutes, Derby enjoyed more possession of the ball than their hosts, took more shots than Slavisa Jokanovic’s side and created three big chances compared to United’s one.
Having said that, there were still a few individual performances in the Derby side that will have disappointed Rooney, none more so than of right-back Kornell McDonald.
Indeed, the defender’s first appearance of the season was one to forget for the 19-year-old, with the Rams academy product losing possession of the ball on 22 separate occasions, completing just 61% of his passes and losing five of his 10 duels.
McDonald also failed to find his man with any of his three attempted crosses or his four attempted long balls, was dribbled past by a Sheffield United player once and made an error that led to a Blades goal.
These returns saw the youngster earn an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of 5.8, with no player from either side receiving a worse score on the night.
As such, while the £180k-rated man is still a promising young player for Derby, his performance in the EFL Cup loss will nevertheless make Rooney reconsider whether or not the right-back is ready for consistent first-team football this season, as the defender let the 35-year-old down somewhat with his display on Tuesday evening.