Wayne Rooney is back in English football and the Manchester United great couldn’t have hoped for a better return.
Rooney's second tier debut for Derby was a winning one, with the former England striker having a hand in both goals as they beat Barnsley 2-1.
The 34-year-old was named captain for his first appearance since agreeing to join the Championship club on an 18-month deal in August.
Manchester United and England's record goalscorer had been training, coaching and sitting in the dugout at matches for several weeks but Thursday night was the first time he had been eligible to play following his departure from Major League Soccer side DC United.
We should sign this Rooney guy, looks like he can take good free-kicks pic.twitter.com/uElLmovBBT— Ryan (@ryangoIdy8) January 2, 2020
Included at the expense of suspended Krystian Bielik, Rooney set up the opening goal for Jack Marriott and was involved in the second with a pin-point diagonal pass, either side of Elliot Simoes' equaliser for Barnsley.
His superb inswinging delivery from a free-kick out on the left was touched home by Marriott with his shin from eight yards out.
Simoes then knocked in a rebound to equalise from close range after Conor Chaplin's initial shot was spilled in front of goal.
Rooney's big moment arrived in the 52nd minute but he mistimed his header from inside the six-yard box and the ball bobbled harmlessly wide off his shoulder.
However he had a hand in the goal that restored Derby's lead after 57 minutes with a radar pass to switch play to Andre Wisdom, whose low cross was then turned home by Martyn Waghorn.
The guy is still world class for me the fact he’s back playing in England is massive imagine being a a young lad at derby on the fringes of the first team and coming in to train everyday with Wayne Rooney!— Keith Garner (@Keith83g) January 2, 2020
Wayne Rooney's Derby County debut by numbers:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 2, 2020
41 passes attempted
3 tackles made
1 chance created
100% win rate. 😉 pic.twitter.com/gSlT6F3JRb
Rooney amazing cross field pass before the 2nd goal 😘😘😘😘— scotty Jay (@CarlingisKing) January 2, 2020
Wayne Rooney starting for derby county is a surreal moment and an amazing start to the decade! 5 year old me watching England play would never believe that Rooney, England’s greatest ever player would ever play for derby and let alone captain them! 🐏— ɥʇǝᙠ (@afixvalentine) January 2, 2020
Wayne Rooney gave an assist and took the W in his debut for Derby. Love to see it— bZee SKYWALKER (@bZee__) January 3, 2020
It really is Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. Christ https://t.co/kvqv5FdmNx— Rowan Caldwell (@caldwellrowan29) January 3, 2020
Wayne Rooney showed his true colours world class ...... #legend— Kevin J D lundie (@KevinLundie2) January 2, 2020
Rooney's debut coincided with Derby winning back-to-back matches for the first time this season, having also beaten Charlton 2-1 on Monday.
The fact that they remain 17th on the table illustrates just how big the job is for the England legend and the Rams.