Frank Lampard was appointed Derby County manager in the summer after Gary Rowett decided to jump ship to Stoke City — and for many this was seen as a big job for a rookie manager.
It was known to everyone that significant investment in the playing staff had to be put on hold in order to comply with Financial Fair Play. There was some boosts to funds though with compensation from Stoke City for Rowett and also an add on from the Tom Ince transfer the year before.
Lampard spent the summer wheeling and dealing, spent some money and recouped some with the sale of Matej Vydra to Burnley.
It was brave of Lampard to take the job and of the club to appoint him.
Here’s my half-term opinion of the playing staff.
1 Scott Carson — although he hasn’t pulled off as many miraculous saves as the past couple of seasons and has made an odd error, he remains one of the top keepers in the division. 7/10
2 Andre Wisdom — has found chances difficult to come by because of the form of youngster Jayden Bogle. Struggled a little when selected, but if you aren’t getting game time it’s difficult to build up form. 6/10
3 Craig Forsyth — Yet again Forsyth finds himself on the long-term injury list with another ACL problem. Many will be asking can he come back from a third injury that only a few years ago was career threatening. Prior to the injury he earned a 7/10 .
4 Craig Bryson — once the most popular of Rams players, fans are now divided in to whether he should be a first-teamer. I am of the option that he is still a very valuable asset. 7/10
5 Fikayo Tomori — Young centre back on loan from Chelsea. Has made an odd mistake, but overall very good. Great speed and enthusiasm. He has exceeded my expectations. 8/10
6 Richard Keogh — Often made a scapegoat when things go wrong, but still as steady as most centre backs in the division. 7/10
7 Harry Wilson — Took a few games to settle, but the young Liverpool loanee is the talk of Pride Park! His striking of the deadball reminds me of a young David Beckham and his work rate has been very good. 9/10
8 Mason Mount — Made an immediate impact and has become important to the midfield. Is now a target for opposition teams. Shows maturity that belies his young age. 8/10
9 Martyn Waghorn — A few eyebrows were raised when Lampard signed him, but after a successful season in a struggling Ipswich side, several clubs were in for him. Had to be patient to get his chance and when he finally got the nod was on a decent run of form before getting injured. 6/10 (I expect him to be an important player in the second half of the season.)
10 Tom Lawrence — Frustrating. Has moments of magic, but needs to be more consistent and have more belief in ability. 6/10
11 Florian Jozefzoon — The jury is out. He has shown glimpses of skill and looks very good at times when running at defenders, but again can be frustrating. Needs to up his game a bit when next gets a chance. 6/10
14 Jack Marriott — Has been the best buy of the summer. Had to be patient to at first get on the bench and then get game time. Scored his first goal at Old Trafford and has hit the net on a regular basis since. Has a similar style to Bobby Davison. 9/10
15 Bradley Johnson — Turned in some better performances, but I’m unsure where he fits in to best 11. 7/10
16 Alex Pearce and 17- George Evans — Both not completed enough games to be judged. In Evans case this is down to injury.
20 Mason Bennett — Had just started to enjoy a run in the side and had some very good games before injury. 7/10
21 Kelle Roos — Reserve keeper has started one cup tie.
23 Duane Holmes — Had to wait for a chance but certainly looks the part. Has played in midfield so far, but his best position is believed to be out wide. It would be unfair to mark him.
28 David Nugent — Seen more on the bench nowadays but always puts in a shift. 6/10
33 Curtis Davies and 36 Joe Ledley — Playing time restricted by injury.
37 Jayden Bogle — The story of the season. Young, energetic and has already been watched by Premier League sides. Fantastic to see an academy product making the grade. 8/10
39 Calum MacDonald — Just made it on to the bench.
41 Max Bird — Just a few minutes playing time and like MacDonald, Bogle and Bennett is an academy product.
44 Tom Huddlestone — I love watching his long passes as he pings them across the pitch, but I would like to see him being used for that quality even more. It’s a good weapon to have. 7/10
46 Scott Malone — Had to wait for his chance but Craig Forsyth’s injury has given him a chance to claim the left back spot permanently. Not seen his Fulham form as of yet. 6/10
A number of players are out on loan and I expect Max Lowe and Luke Thomas will be recalled in January. We’ve seen a number of youngsters break through into the matchday squad and the next one I predict to make the jump is Louie Sibley.