Derby County forward Martyn Waghorn endured a disappointing afternoon on Saturday as Wayne Rooney’s side slipped up in their bid to secure Championship safety.
Knowing that a win against Swansea City would have all but ensured the Rams’ place in the second tier ahead of next season, despite taking the lead at the Liberty Stadium, two second-half Swansea goals ultimately saw Derby slump to their sixth consecutive league defeat, with the 2-1 loss leaving Rooney’s side in very real jeopardy of dropping down to League One on the final day of the season.
With both Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday picking up draws in their respective fixtures against Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest, as well as Wycombe Wanderers securing a shock win against Bournemouth, Derby now find themselves just three points above all the trio of Wednesday, Rotherham and Wycombe in the relegation places – with the Rams’ final game of the season essentially becoming a relegation play-off against the Owls at Pride Park.
In the fixture against Swansea itself, Martyn Waghorn was easily one of Rooney’s worst performers, with the 31-year-old earning a SofaScore match rating of just 6.2, ranking him as the club’s second-worst player on the day.
This disappointing rating is likely to do with just how ineffectual the former Rangers striker was, with Waghorn managing no attempts at Freddie Woodman’s goal, completing just seven of his 13 passes, failing with all three of his attempted dribbles and losing possession of the ball 14 times over his 80 minutes on the pitch.
As such, it would very much appear as if Waghorn badly failed Rooney on Saturday, and, if the 35-year-old manager opts to start him again in the crucial clash with Sheffield Wednesday this weekend, it is essential that the striker ups his game – or else Derby could well be playing their football in the third tier next season.