Wayne Rooney reveals he may have ALREADY played the last game of his career as he admits he’s ready to retire and become a manager full-time
- Wayne Rooney will retire as a player if he becomes Derby’s next manager
- He has been promoted to head up the interim managerial team this weekend
- It is far from certain Rooney will land the role to be Phillip Cocu’s successor
- Derby are in the process of a £60million takeover from an Abu Dhabi royal
Wayne Rooney is ready to call time on his 18-year playing career if he is appointed Derby’s permanent manager.
England’s record goalscorer will oversee Saturday’s home game against Wycombe after being promoted to lead the interim coaching team that also includes Shay Given, Liam Rosenior and Justin Walker.
While Rooney – who expects Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan to complete his £60million takeover next week – stopped short of announcing his retirement as a player, he made clear that he did not believe he could perform both roles at the same time.
Wayne Rooney appears ready to call time on his playing career to focus on management
Rooney is in the frame to be the full-time successor after Derby parted with Phillip Cocu
That means if Rooney wins the race to be the new boss, which is far from certain, he will end his playing days.
‘That possibility (of ending his playing days) is there, of course,’ said Rooney. ‘As I have stated I want to do this job and I want to go into management.
‘If I manage the team long-term I do not feel it is possible to manage and play.
Rooney has scored just one goal in 10 league appearances for rock-bottom Derby this season
Seen thriving for England at Euro 2004, Rooney went on to be the leading scorer for his nation
‘If I’m not managing the team I will continue to play, but if I’m asked to manage the team on a full-time basis that will be the end of my playing days.
‘It’s not the answer you want to hear but as I keep saying, the focus is on Saturday.
‘The new owners are not yet here [but they are] days away from finalising so I have to focus on the team. I’m sure in the near future I’ll be able to answer these questions better.
‘Management is what I want to do and what I see myself doing. On Saturday it is the right decision to give my full attention to managing the team and not lose focus on that by taking part in the game. We are all doing what we can to help Derby get out of this mess.’
Former England manager Steve McClaren rejoined Derby, who sacked Phillip Cocu a fortnight ago, as technical director earlier in the week, while Rooney offered his backing to Given, Rosenior and Walker.
Rooney also went on to become United’s record goalscorer and won five Premier League titles
England’s all-time leading goalscorer will retire from playing if he gets the Derby vacancy
Derby are bottom of the Championship after taking only six points from their opening 13 matches and need an instant revival of their fortunes.
With Rooney in joint-caretaker charge for the last two games, they suffered defeats at Bristol City and Middlesbrough.
Rooney added: ‘We discussed it and we felt it needed one voice rather than four voices and we decided I was the best man to do that, so I will be responsible for picking the team. We have to look at it as though our season is starting now.
‘My message to the players will be to go and enjoy it. We all started playing football because we enjoy it. We need to remember that.’
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