Teenager Jones, veteran Rooney take center stage in FA Cup

Sports

Derby County’s Wayne Rooney talks with referee Dean Whitestone during the game against Barnsley, during their English Championship soccer match at Pride Park in Derby, England, Thursday Jan. 2, 2020. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

Curtis Jones and Wayne Rooney, Liverpudlians at opposite ends of their soccer careers, played starring rolesin the FA Cup on Sunday.

Jones, a highly rated 18-year-old winger, scored a goal he may never better to earn Liverpool a 1-0 win over Everton in a Merseyside derby that had a familiar result at Anfield.

Collecting the ball outside the area on the left, Jones bent a shot into the far corner off the underside of the crossbar.

“The ball came to me and I only had one thing in mind – to shoot,” said Jones, who joined Liverpool at the age of 6 and was one of a slew of youth players in an inexperienced team selected by Jurgen Klopp.

“Luckily enough it led to the matchwinner and a great goal.”

It was a strike that evoked memories of one scored by Rooney, for Everton against Arsenal in 2002 as a 16-year-old, that also flew in off the bar and rocketed him to overnight stardom.

Eighteen years on, and now a deep-lying midfielder in the twilight of his career, the 34-year-old Rooney is still proving his worth on the soccer field.

The former Manchester United and England striker played with authority and discipline as second-tier Derby’s captain to inspire his new team to a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, which became the third Premier League team to lose to lower-league opposition at the third-round stage this season.

“He influenced the game a lot because you could see his experience,” Derby manager Phillip Cocu said of Rooney, who had 77 touches of the ball – more than any other Derby player.

“He knows when to receive the ball and has great delivery when he gives it. The other players know he will give the pass so they will make the runs.”

Rooney played the full 90 minutes in his second game for Derby since his return to English soccer after a spell in the United States with DC United.

The game was otherwise memorable for the rare use of a pitchside monitor in English soccer as referee Michael Oliver checked an incident, following a VAR review, that led to Palace captain Luka Milivojevic being sent off after a tussle with Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

As for Everton, the team has yet to win at Anfield this century -its last victory at the home of its neighbor across Stanley Park came in 1999 – and hasn’t won a derby match in any competition, anywhere, since 2010.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti fielded a strong lineup, a rare move by a Premier League manager in the FA Cup these days, but wasn’t rewarded despite his team creating three great first-half chances that were hit straight at Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian.

HONEYMOON OVER

Tottenham’s honeymoon period under Jose Mourinho looks to be over.

After a strong start under the self-styled “Special One,” it’s now just one win in the last five games for Tottenham, which had to come from a goal down to draw 1-1 at second-tier Middlesbrough.

Lucas Moura headed in Tottenham’s equalizer in the 61st to rescue Tottenham, which was poor and one-paced in the first half against Middlesbrough and fell behind to Ashley Fletcher’s goal in the 50th.

Mourinho said his team missed the presence of Harry Kane, who is out with a hamstring injury which his coach said “is not a small injury.”

“In this moment, it is not going to be, ‘Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry,’” Mourinho said. “We have what we have and we stick with them. The boys did what they can, you cannot transform Lucas or Son (Heung-min) into a No. 9 like Harry Kane.”

HUDSON-ODOI IMPRESSES

Unlike his mentor Mourinho, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard fielded his reserves for the home game against Nottingham Forest – and one stood out.

Callum Hudson-Odoi drilled home the opener for his first goal in four months, then had a hand in Ross Barkley’s easy finish as Chelsea won 2-0.

The England winger is looking to return to his best form after coming back from surgery on his right Achilles in April. Lampard has been at pains to shield Hudson-Odoi from criticism following a below-par performance in the 2-0 home loss to Southampton on Dec. 26, while also demanding a hike in quality and this was certainly a step in the right direction.

OTHER RESULTS

Sheffield United ended up only scraping to a 2-1 win over AFC Fylde, which was the last non-league team remaining in the competition. West Ham beat third-tier Gillingham 2-0 thanks to second-half goals by substitutes Pablo Zabaleta and Pablo Formals.

Queens Park Rangers, Barnsley and West Bromwich Albion, all from the second tier, were other teams to advance.

Arsenal hosts second-tier leader Leeds on Monday , when the draw for the fourth round takes place.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trending Stories