The former Manchester United grandmaster could face the first relegation of his career with Derby County but he has a long-term vision for the club that allows him to look beyond the current woes
Video not available
Wayne Rooney never had any illusions about the magnitude of the opportunity that suddenly presented itself to him.
The best goalscorer of his generation and one of the greatest English players of all time was offered the chance Become Derby County Manager January 2021.
It was probably sooner than he expected, at just 35 years old. In fact, earlier this season he had shown that he still had more than enough talent to compete on the player side.
But he sensed it was a golden opportunity to lay the foundations for a bright future in the managerial dugout. Long-term planning clearly played a role in Rooney taking the job The Championship side full-time.
Following his revelation after a stint as interim boss, he said: “When I first came back to Britain (having played in America) I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County.
“The stadium, the training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fanbase who have remained loyal and supportive. Despite other offers, I knew instinctively that Derby County was the right place for me.”
What followed in the following 15 months is something that many managers will probably have seldom experienced in their entire careers. Failed acquisitions, administration, point deductions, transfer bans. You name it, Rooney had to deal with it.
Derby survived with the skin of her teeth on the final day of last season, but last year was a walk in the park compared to the current season.
Will Rooney make it in the Premier League one day? Let us know in the comments
Not many would have blamed Rooney for walking away. At some point he must have felt like it.
But he has remained loyal to the club and deservedly received a lot of praise for his management of the whole chaotic situation.
The 21 point handicap was always in the process of overcoming a huge deficit and despite Friday’s brilliant win over a Fulham Team on the brink of promotion – a result that has shown Rooney’s struggle – Derby’s seemingly inevitable relegation would be confirmed today if they fail to beat Queens Park Rangers and Reading achieve a superior result at home to Swansea.
The Royals are nine points clear of the Rams with each club having four games left.
Still, Rooney did everything right to stay at the club even as they fall into the third tier for the first time since 1986.
The likely takeover of Chris Kirchner appears to have rekindled supporters of Rooney and Derby who are hoping for it Americans can make a deal in time to make a real push for promotion from League One next season.
“I’ve really been in constant communication with Chris for eight months,” Rooney said this week. “I know the direction he wants to go, we want to take this club forward. I think it’s good to have a young, ambitious owner who is willing to invest his money to get this club back. We have to make sure that we do.” Getting things in the right direction and making sure we build it back up and making sure the club stays in a stable position.
“I think he [Chris Kirchner] has openly said that he wants me to be here next season and I have been completely honest with my answers and answers to questions about it. We need it [the takeover] to complete.”
Sources close to the Kirchner deal have said so mirror football that the deal goes through all the necessary checks and hope that against the backdrop of a tight timeframe it can be completed soon. Kirchner’s exclusivity ends on May 7th – the last day of the championship season.
Despite all the problems behind the scenes, Rooney’s words about the club’s potential still ring true.
Perhaps expectantly, he says: “Hopefully if that deal goes through I’ll be here next season to make sure we can recover if we’re relegated or we can build a squad capable of competing in the Championship .”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/derby-relegation-championship-wayne-rooney-26722451 Wayne Rooney bravely keeps fighting despite Derby staring at inevitable relegation