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How Derby County fans played a key part in Wayne Rooney's crucial team talk

The Rams drew 3-3 with Sheffield Wednesday on a dramatic final day to secure their Championship status for next season

Wayne Rooney has revealed what he used in his team talk to help inspire Derby County's players ahead of their relegation battle with Sheffield Wednesday.

Derby went into the final day of the Championship campaign knowing a win would see them safe. A draw might be enough if Rotherham United failed to win at Cardiff but a defeat would relegate them to League One.

The Rams drew 3-3 in a dramatic game, twice coming from behind, while Rotherham conceded a late equaliser at Cardiff and drew 1-1.

It meant Derby survived while Rotherham, Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers went down.

Derby's players received a welcome from a crowd of fans outside Pride Park Stadium before the game.

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Rooney used that as well as a poem by Rams fan and poet Jamie Thrasivoulou as part of his team talk.

"The poem by Jamie was really good," Rooney said afterwards.

"I used that as part of my team talk. I used the fans outside the stadium when we were coming in as part of my team talk, and really I didn't have much more to add.

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"This is it, I said, you have to do it for this football club, for the staff who work here, for the fans, for everyone connected with this club, the city. Thankfully the lads did."

Derby finished the season on a run of just one win in 15 matches, but they showed character against Wednesday.

"With everything that has been going on this season, they (the players) deserve a lot of credit," Rooney said.

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"Normally in a relegation fight there are splits in the group, arguments, fights among players. They (the players) have stuck together.

"I felt taking the lads to Cardiff (last week before the game at Swansea) was a big moment especially for the young lads to get to know the first-team players more, so I am delighted for them because they deserve that.

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Derby trailed 1-0 at half time against Wednesday while Rotherham were leading.

"I knew they (Rotherham) were 1-0 up early, and then we went a goal down," Rooney said.

"My message to the players at half time was stay calm, there are 45 minutes left, don't panic, don't force things.

"I thought if we were calm on the ball in possession - that's why I brought Max Bird on to try and help us get some calmness - we could hurt Sheffield Wednesday.

"We did it well at times, but we didn't do it enough.

"I didn't think we would go out and score two goals so quickly and then we conceded two sloppy goals, story of the season."

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