Former Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney has called time on his illustrious playing career at the age of 35 after being appointed as the permanent manager of Derby County.
Signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Championship side, Rooney acted as Derby's caretaker since the departure of Phillip Cocu in November 2020. The 35-year-old will be assisted by Liam Rosenior, while former Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given will become the club’s first-team coach.
“When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby,” said Rooney. “The stadium, training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and, of course, the fanbase 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 in 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. Despite other offers I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me.”
Rooney's former club, Manchester United were one of the first teams to send their all-time top scorer best wishes for his new journey, and others soon follow suit:
One of our all-time great footballers has retired. It’s never an easy moment for any player but @WayneRooney has enjoyed a truly wonderful career on the field. Here’s hoping he’s successful off the pitch with @dcfcofficial. Well played and good luck. 👍🏻— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) January 15, 2021
History under the arch 🏟️— Wembley Stadium (@wembleystadium) January 15, 2021
The moment Wayne Rooney became the all-time leading goal scorer for @England 👏
Happy retirement, @WayneRooney - we look forward to welcoming you back to Wembley as a manager some day in the future 😉 pic.twitter.com/Za250peOAy
He was almost a manifestation of a part of ourselves on the pitch because that's how the kids from that generation would play in the park.— Kaustubh Pandey (@Kaus_Pandey17) January 15, 2021
No other footballer has had this image since. In a protected VAR environment, we'll never have one in the future too.
Wayne Rooney: one of the very best to ever do it. A legend.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) January 15, 2021
First saw Wayne Rooney play for Everton reserves at Old Trafford in 2002, when he tried to score from inside his own half. He was a frigthening force of nature in his teens and early 20. Though never the same player again after Munich 2010, he won everything his talent deserved.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) January 15, 2021
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @dcfcofficial