SBW writer Ryan Burton (@RyanBurton92) looks back on the first half of 18/19 and gives his school grades assessment of every Rams player.
Scott Carson B-
An early struggle to adapt to Lampard’s pass-from-the back policy saw Carson endure an inconsistent start by his standards. His shot-stopping has never been in doubt, but an inability to get his footwork to reach the same heights could see the previously untouchable number one spot open up.
Fikayo Tomori B-
The first half of his loan spell has seen the Chelsea starlet put in an impressive set of performances in the heart of the Rams defence. Despite a demoralising 4-1 home defeat to Leeds on his debut, he’s made the centre back slot his own – making him one of Lampard’s more astute signings. Comfortable on the ball, pacy and strong in the air, the 21-year-old has plenty of attributes of a top defender. He is prone to occasional rash decisions, but that is to be expected at his age.
Richard Keogh B
It wouldn’t be Derby if there wasn’t ongoing debate about Richard Keogh. There’s been a decline in cumbersome blunders (until Bristol City…) and greater consistency in marshalling the back line, but Derby’s relative lack of clean sheets means the age-old debate won’t go away. Despite this, even his most ardent critics would admit that our habit of conceding goals is down to our attacking style rather than Keogh’s actions.
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Scott Malone B
When one door closes, another one opens. The former Huddersfield man waited patiently for his chance and has more than made up for lost time with his eye-catching performances from left back. As well as scoring his West Brum wonder goal (seconds after a goal-saving block), the 27-year-old unleashed his inner Cantona when embarrassing Forest’s Joe Lolley. Question marks remain over his overall defensive ability and positional sense, but we’ve definitely seen what he’s capable of.
Jayden Bogle B-
Plucked from the academy and thrown into the Championship, Bogle has emerged triumphant. When you reflect on his journey from U18’s to first-team regular – it’s the feel-good story we all crave.
That’s not to say the 18-year-old hasn’t had to endure any criticism in his debut season. He has come under scrutiny for struggling to close down crosses, however his pace and crossing ability outweighs the negatives. Room for improvement but an encouraging start.
Craig Forsyth B-
After starting the season playing second fiddle to Max Lowe, Forsyth forced his way back into the starting XI. He found his feet again and notched up four assists from left back. It seemed we were seeing the Fozzy of old again – which made his season ending ACL injury all the more devastating. Now enduring his third long term injury at Derby, we’re left wondering whether we’ll see the 29-year-old at his best again.
Andre Wisdom C-
A victim of Jayden Bogle’s meteoric rise – Wisdom has been limited to just seven first team appearances. Despite being a mainstay in last season’s play-off campaign, Lampard’s insistence on playing a more attack minded full back suggests his Pride Park future looks bleak. When he has been in the team, his performances have been adequate, yet uninspiring. Disappointing when we’ve seen how good the former Liverpool man can be.
Mason Mount B
Securing Mount on a season-long loan was a massive coup. If fans weren’t aware of his talents, and why there was so much hype, it soon became clear how good this 19-year-old is. His first 10 games were scintillating, earning him a call-up to the England senior squad.
Since coming back from a short lay off with an ankle injury, he has not reached the same heights. With teams paying closer attention to him, the Chelsea youngster now faces the challenge of finding new ways to unlock Championship defences.
Tom Huddlestone B
A pre-season injury meant that Huddlestone spent the first few month biding his time on the Rams bench – but he has since cemented his place in the starting XI. Form is temporary, class is permanent and Big Tom oozes quality. The 31-year-old lacks pace but makes up for it with superb vision and a calming influence. He may not produce the same eye-catching performances as Mount and Wilson, but Huddlestone can be relied upon for balance and impeccable passing.
Craig Bryson C+
We were all delighted to see Bryson return following promotion success with Cardiff City. However, performances in the first half of the season suggest his best days are behind him. His commitment has never been in question, but there’s only so far tenacity and running can take you in a season – a return of two assists and two goals is not good enough. Lampard is clearly a fan and his challenge will be trying to help Bryson replicate his 2013/14 heroics after Christmas.
Duane Holmes C+
Another player who has had to be patient – Holmes was initially reduced to bit-part roles, following his deadline day move from Scunthorpe. But a man of the match display on his home league debut in the 3-1 win over Birmingham City put the 24-year-old on our radar. Performances haven’t been quite as memorable since, but no less encouraging. His ability to play in central, attacking and right midfield makes him a great option for us. Expect to see more of him in the second half of the season.
Bradley Johnson C
What do you do with a problem like Bradley Johnson? One week he looks worth every penny of his £6 million fee, the next he puts in performances equal to the value of a half-time pukka pie. Despite showing impressive form during eight consecutive starts, the 31-year-old may struggle to get back in the team once serving his five game ban. Johnson adds strength and plenty of bite (sorry, couldn’t resist) to our midfield, but needs to cut out the wayward passes and up his consistency.
Joe Ledley C-
A hip injury sustained early on in the campaign limited Ledley to just four games. The Welsh international enjoyed a solid pre-season but looked off the pace in the opening two games. After scoring an important opener in the 2-0 win over Ipswich, he was later hauled off against Preston North End before half time. It is difficult to assess a player over such a short of time but from what we have seen, Ledley will need to vastly improve if he is to stake a claim for a first team place.
Harry Wilson A-
We had to wait patiently for the dynamic winger to make an impact but following a short stint on the treatment table, but since then Wilson has assembled a spectacular individual highlights reel.
Whether it’s cutting in from the wing or marauding from central midfield, he’s treated us to thronkers, worldies and everything in between. Thankfully, Jurgen Klopp has dismissed the notion of recalling him – so we can look forward to seeing the Welsh wizard continue to play a starring role for us in the second half of the season.
Jack Marriott A
It took him a while to make his mark, but boy was it worth the wait. Coming off the back of a prolific campaign with Peterborough United, logic said Lampard should throw Marriott straight into the action. Instead, he chose to gradually introduce him from the bench. A bold decision but one that has paid off. Since cementing his place as the club’s first-choice striker, a glut of goals have followed courtesy of Marriott’s left foot, right foot and head. For just £4 million, we have bagged ourselves a natural goal scorer.
Mason Bennett B-
Since making his debut for the Rams as a 15-year-old schoolboy, we have been waiting for Mason Bennett to take a Derby team by storm. Now 22-years-old, he seems ready to realise his potential.
After scoring his first Championship goal and providing two match winning assists, a hamstring injury picked up against Aston Villa has delayed further progress. However, the youngster is expected to return in the New Year, meaning he has more than enough time to make big strides in the first team.
Tom Lawrence C+
After netting three goals in his first four games, it looked like Tom Lawrence was finally ready to become a big player for this Derby side. Inconsistency blighted his first season at Pride Park and old habits die hard. With no assists and just one goal added since August, the Welshman will find his starting position in jeopardy if performances do not improve.
David Nugent C
The days of notching up double figures are well behind Nugent, but the experienced centre forward has adapted his game. A key focus on supplying the goals rather than just scoring, combined with his willingness to run down defences and chase loose balls makes him a very useful squad player.
With his contract up in the summer, the 33-year-old is likely to leave at the end of this campaign – but that doesn’t make his role as Lampard’s workhorse any less important.
Martyn Waghorn C
Last season’s haul of 16 goals and 13 assists for Ipswich Town came from right wing and centre forward. Unfortunately, we’ are yet to see the Waghorn replicate this kind of form in either position in a Rams shirt. Since picking up an injury against Birmingham, the £5 million signing has struggled to force his way back into the starting XI. Where Lampard sees his position in the team remains unclear. For now, Rams fans will be hoping a run of starts in the second half of the season will spark the 28-year-old into life.
Florian Jozefzoon C-
The flying Dutchman has found starts hard to come by since arriving from Brentford. With considerable pace, quick feet and plenty of trickery, Jozefzoon has often been used as an impact sub. The ideal weapon to against tiring defences, the speedy winger has enough talent and experience at this level to warrant more starts. Only one goal and one assist so far though – we will be hoping for a better return from the 27-year-old in the second half of the season.