Wayne Rooney has been named the permanent Derby County manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal and has officially called time on his glittering career as a player in the process.
Rooney has been rewarded with the full-time job at Pride Park after overseeing three wins, four draws and two defeats in a nine-game spell in charge after stepping up following former boss Phillip Cocu’s exit in November.
The former Manchester United forward believes there is a bright future for the Rams, despite their current position in the bottom three in the Championship, and admits it’s an “honour” to manage the “historic” club.
He said: “When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County Football Club. The Stadium, Training Ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive.
“Despite other offers I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me. To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour and I can promise everyone involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club.”
With Rooney landing the job full-time, the 35-year-old has decided to officially retire from playing, meaning a hugely successful 18-and-a-half-year career comes to an end. Rooney is England and United’s all-time leading goalscorer and is also the second-highest scorer in Premier League history, with 208 goals.
After moving to Old Trafford from boyhood club Everton in 2004, Rooney won the Premier League five times, the Champions League, the FA Cup and three League Cups and then returned to Goodison Park for a short spell before heading out to play for MLS side DC United in the US.
Rooney returned to England 12 months ago, initially on an 18-month player-coach deal, and recorded seven goals in 35 appearances for the Rams.
His first game in permanent charge will be at home against Rotherham in the Championship on Saturday (Derby 19/20, Draw 5/2, Rotherham 3/1 – Match Betting) and he retains the services of Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker to work closely alongside him.
Rosenior has been named assistant manager, Given first-team coach and Walker will stay on as first-team development coach, while former Derby and England boss Steve McClaren will continue in his role as technical director and advisor to the board of directors.
Derby sit third-bottom in the Championship but will hope for an improvement in the second half of the season following Rooney’s appointment and are 50/1 to finish in the top six.