London – Former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney ended his illustrious playing career on Friday to accept the job of managing Championship side Derby on a full-time basis.
Derby confirmed Rooney, 35, has agreed a permanent deal until 2023, having succeeded Phillip Cocu on an interim basis in November. In accepting the manager’s role, Derby said the iconic forward had “elected to call time on his illustrious playing career to fully focus on his job”.
Rooney was in charge for nine matches as interim boss at Derby, winning three and drawing four.
“We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Wayne Rooney as our new manager,” Derby County CEO Stephen Pearce said. “Our recent upturn in results under Wayne was married together with some positive performances.”
Rooney said he had been “blown away” by Derby’s potential when he arrived at the club after playing for DC United in MLS.
“To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honor,” he said.
“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.”
Rooney, who captained Manchester United and England, hangs up his boots as the all-time leading goalscorer for both United and his country. He also has 208 Premier League goals, which leaves him behind only Alan Shearer in league history.
Rooney’s retirement was instantly recognized by the national team’s official Twitter account, which posted: “A #ThreeLions legend. Congratulations on a fantastic playing career, @WayneRooney! Wishing you all the best in management.”
Alex Ferguson, who signed Rooney for United, said: “He is England’s top goalscorer, he is Manchester United’s top goalscorer and he has had a fantastic career as a player.
“It will give him a starting point. But like anyone else it is a results industry. He will know that better than anyone.
“It is a big step for him. He is quite a wealthy young man now, so he probably doesn’t need to go into management, but he wants to do it and that is important. Hopefully he does well.”
Rooney debuted for his boyhood club Everton in 2002 and shot to prominence by scoring a sensational goal to beat then-champion Arsenal days before his 17th birthday.
After an impressive showing for England at Euro 2004 he was signed by United in a £27 million ($37 million) transfer.
It didn’t take long for Rooney to start living up to the deal, scoring a hat-trick in his debut in the Champions League against Fenerbahce.
A potent combination of poise and power made Rooney a lethal goal threat before he finished his career by showcasing his more cerebral side in a deeper role.
Equally capable of predatory finishes and spectacular strikes, Rooney was one of the world’s best forwards during his prime. He broke Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record of 249 goals in January 2017, going on to reach 253 for the Old Trafford club.
Rooney won five Premier League titles and a Champions League medal with Ferguson at the helm and captained the club to F.A. Cup glory under Louis van Gaal in 2016.
He played 120 matches and scored 53 goals for England, appearing for the final time against the United States in 2018.
He rejoined Everton in 2017 but was only at Goodison Park for a year before moving to MLS side DC United.
Rooney moved to Derby in January 2020 as a player-coach and took on the caretaker role when Cocu was sacked.
Derby is currently in the Championship relegation zone but is even with Sheffield Wednesday with 19 points in 21st place.
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