Derby boss Wayne Rooney’s managerial credentials rated amid Everton links – EXCLUSIVE

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Former Tottenham defender Michael Dawson believes Wayne Rooney has the potential to become a top-class manager due to the vast experience he has gained since taking over at Derby County. The Manchester United legend has been praised for the way in which he has handled a number of extremely difficult situations at Pride Park.

Rooney helped save the Rams from relegation to League One last season, but the club’s financial issues have seen them handed a transfer embargo and hit with a massive points deduction which has left them rock-bottom of the Championship this year.

Derby look all but guaranteed to go down this time round, and this has led to suggestions that Rooney could move on sooner or later, with some rumours stating that he could replace Rafael Benitez if the under-fire Spaniard is sacked by Everton in the near future.

This would lead to a hugely emotional return to Goodison Park for Rooney, who enjoyed two spells with the Toffees during his exceptional playing career.

Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, Rooney’s former England teammate Dawson explained why he thinks the 36-year-old’s rollercoaster spell at Derby will only serve to help him in coaching.

“He’s had to put up with everything possible from a first job and people say becoming a good manager is all about experience,” Dawson said. “He can’t get any more experience with what he’s been through.

“A points deduction, not being able to sign players, being rock bottom and trying to still provide that belief. With Phil Jagielka and Curtis Davies he’s got a great spine in the defence and good characters. That can only help.

“I played with Rooney and against him. He has such incredible energy and just loves the game, and seemed like a kid playing in the park at times. Occasionally players who you think are going to go into management don’t and vice versa. 

“It’s about getting the opportunities, and he got that at Derby thanks to being a player.”

Derby managed a 1-0 win against Blackpool at the weekend but they are still stranded on just four points – a massive 17 off safety.

And Dawson thinks that although it would be a remarkable story, he just cannot see any way that they will be able to save themselves.

“It would be the greatest escape of all time if they stayed up, but I think it’s nigh on impossible,” he added. “But Rooney will keep fighting.

“The shackles are off in a way – there’s no pressure and they’ve been written off thanks to the points deduction. But no, I don’t see it happening. 

Derby are next back in action on Saturday when they travel to take on Cardiff before hosting high-flying West Brom two days after Christmas.

How things progress between Rooney and Everton remains to be seen, with claims he has had unofficial communication with chiefs at the club.

Benitez faces another tough attempt to pick up valuable points when his side take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday. 

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