On July 26th, 2018, Derby County confirmed the signing of former Peterborough United striker, Jack Marriott. The attacker joined the Rams for an initial £3 million, with add-ons potentially taking the transfer to £5 million.
The Beverley-born striker took League One by storm during his one season at the Weston Homes Stadium, scoring 33 goals across all competitions in 44 appearances.
Because of his form, few were surprised to see Derby spend a sizeable fee on the promising attacker. However, the 26-year-old has failed to hit the heights at Pride Park, and his contract reportedly expires in June 2022. So, where does Marriott go from here?
A Victim of the Loan System and Managerial Changes?
Upon putting pen to paper to join Derby, Marriott signed a three-year deal, meaning that his contract initially ran until the summer of 2021. However, the Rams opted to active a one-year extension in October 2020. As such, Marriott will return to Pride Park at the expiration of his season-long loan with Sheffield Wednesday.
In his first 86 appearances for Derby, Marriott has scored 17 goals and provided nine assists. Under Frank Lampard, the 26-year-old found the net on 13 occasions in 43 appearances.
Following the former Chelsea midfielder’s departure from Pride Park to take over as manager at Stamford Bridge, Phillip Cocu took charge of the Rams. On reflection, the Dutchman undoubtedly failed to get the best out of Derby’s £3-million striker. As per Transfermarkt, Marriott also played 43 times for Cocu, but he only scored four goals.
The Beverley-born striker played a leading role in taking Derby to the Championship play-off final in 2019. En route to the occasion, Marriott and Martyn Waghorn scored a combined 19 goals, and this was mainly due to the creativity provided by on-loan signings, Harry Wilson and Mason Mount. After they returned to their parent clubs, the Rams lost the offensive spark that got the best of Marriott, as evident from the attacker’s goalscoring figures under Cocu.
Rooney’s Appointment Offers Fresh Hope
Following a run of below-par results, Wayne Rooney replaced Coco as Derby’s manager in January 2021. Thus far, the 26-year-old is yet to play for England’s record goalscorer at Pride Park, although the prospect of featuring for such a high-profile name would appeal to any forward. Few can argue that the former Manchester United striker wouldn’t get the best out of his attackers, especially as he spearheaded five Premier League triumphs for the Red Devils during his player days.
Marriott, who came through at Ipswich, as opposed to his local club, Beverley Town, could have returned to Derby in January 2021 due to a recall clause in his loan contract. However, Rooney decided to allow the 26-year-old to finish the season with Sheffield Wednesday, as he couldn’t guarantee him first-team opportunities.
Marriott’s Derby career hasn’t gone to plan, but he’ll be keen to prove that he can play a part in the Rams’ future under Rooney. If the 26-year-old is to force his way into the side at Pride Park, he’ll need to make the most of his time at Sheffield Wednesday. Although the Beverley-born striker has thus far failed to hit the heights, Rooney, of all people, should have sympathy.
Rooney No Stranger to Career Difficulties
Between 2006 and 2014, Rooney was part of the England squad that fell short of expectations in the FIFA World Cup. In 11 appearances at the international competition, the former Everton striker scored just one goal, which came against Uruguay in 2014. Not only that, but he was sent off in the 2006 quarter-final loss to Portugal. Four years later, Rooney publicly criticised England supporters for booing the Three Lions after a goalless draw to Algeria. In light of the above, few can argue that the 38-year-old hasn’t endured struggles of his own.
2014 would have been of particular pain as the then 32-year-old led the line for England at the World Cup for the final time. The Three Lions, who drew Costa Rica, Italy, and Uruguay, finished bottom of Group D with one point and crashed out of the competition at the group stage.
The tournament’s significance speaks for itself, and the fact that top-rated online gambling sites centred on slot games around the 2014 World Cup further highlights England’s failure to capitalise on that. At online casinos like LeoVegas, bettors can play Football Frenzy, which is a five-reel slot that hit the market before the 2014 World Cup started, and the game’s premise saw players attempt to win the tournament trophy. This, of course, is something that England and Rooney failed to do. In doing so, he failed to cement himself as a true legend of the game.
What’s Next for Marriott?
In reality, the ball is in Marriott’s court. Should he find goalscoring form during the remainder of his loan spell, Rooney will have to consider the 26-year-old as a viable long-term option. However, that’s not a guarantee. Given that the Beverley-born striker hasn’t enjoyed a free-scoring spell at Pride Park, he may seek a clean break from the Rams in the upcoming summer transfer window.