Wayne Rooney keen on succeeding Phillip Cocu at Derby

Derby County v Queens Park Rangers – Sky Bet Championship – Pride Park
Derby County v Queens Park Rangers – Sky Bet Championship – Pride Park (PA Wire)
16:09pm, Thu 19 Nov 2020
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Wayne Rooney admitted he would love to be offered the job of Derby manager as he prepares to help lead the side against Bristol City on Saturday as part of an interim set-up.

Following the sacking of Phillip Cocu, Derby have appointed a coaching quartet of Rooney, Liam Rosenior, Justin Walker and Shay Given, with their first task lifting the Rams off the foot of the Sky Bet Championship this weekend.

Rooney, 35, could not deny having designs on the top job it was offered.

“I’ve made it quite clear in the last few years my ambition is to go into management, especially with guys like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Scott Parker all getting good jobs and doing really well,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be an ambitious person if I said I didn’t want the job.”

Derby are awaiting the completion of a takeover bid led by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan — cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour – before making their next move, with Rooney and his fellow coaches having an introductory video call with the prospective new owners this week.

Rooney remains a player-coach, but his stated ambition suggests his playing days could be coming to an end.

“While I’m in this position, I’ll give myself a new three-year deal!” he joked.

For now I've got my toes in both dressing rooms, as a player and trying to help lead the team, and we'll see where this takes us

“I know I’m in the twilight of my career. We’ll have to wait and see what happens moving forward.

“For now I’ve got my toes in both dressing rooms, as a player and trying to help lead the team, and we’ll see where this takes us.”

Rosenior shares Rooney’s ambitions and would likewise love to be offered the role, but he said that had no bearing on the coaching quartet working harmoniously this week, desperate to reverse a run of form which has seen a side regarded as promotion contenders collect just six points from 11 games.

“Our first ambition is to win on Saturday,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of experience in this league and it’s a 46-game season. We’ve got 35 games left, that’s nearly a whole Premier League season, so we need to focus on each game and we can very quickly move up.

“I don’t want to sit here while we’re 24th saying we’ve got certain ambitions. Our first ambition is to win at Bristol City.”

Liam Rosenior is also on the coaching team (PA Wire)

Neither Rosenior nor Rooney were willing to give anything away about their plans for Saturday’s match, including whether or not the ex-England man would make the starting line-up.

Assuming he does, all eyes will be on which position he chooses to play in after shifting between attack and midfield in recent years, but Rooney said there was no simple answer as to where he could be most effective.

“I feel I can play in a variety of positions and the best position for me is where I can affect the game the most,” he said. “How can I bring players into the game and hurt the opposition?

“Of course I can play as a nine, but then you’re relying on service to come to you. I’ve played as a six and as an eight as well. It’s about getting on the ball and bringing players into the game, having some calmness at this time which will benefit the team.”

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