Wayne Rooney has discussed his ‘transition’ from player to coach following Derby County’s FA Cup defeat to former side Manchester United.
The former Manchester United captain played the entire 90 minutes as Derby were comfortably beaten 3-0 by their Premier League opponents at Pride Park, Odion Ighalo scoring twice for the visitors after Luke Shaw had opened the scoring.
Rooney has taken his first steps into a career in management by combining a player-coach role at the Championship side, and says he is enjoying the learning process under Derby boss Phillip Cocu as he continues to adapt to a new league and new role.
“Of course you can still learn,” Rooney told BT Sport. “It’s a different league to what I’m used to, different ambitions.
“Obviously, at Manchester United, you’re always thriving to win trophies. At Derby, we’re thriving to try to get promotion. It is different. And my role as a coach, trying to balance them, is different.
“It’s something I’m really enjoying. I’m enjoying playing football first of all – I’m feeling good, I want to continue doing that – but also that transition period of going from player to coach.
"Little bit of glitter in your one? I think mine is more manly!" 😂
Wayne Rooney was having none of @rioferdy5's jab about the beard…
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 6, 2020
“The manager’s been fantastic with me and I want to keep learning and keep trying to improve myself.”
Rooney says his current side are disappointed to have lost but can be proud of their performance despite their cup exit, though insisted the contest will prove beneficial to Derby’s younger players after a testing evening against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“Obviously Manchester United are a good team and we wanted to try to win,” United’s record goalscorer said.
“I think the draw was quite favourable for ourselves or Manchester United, whoever got through, and they were the better team on the night.
“But I have to say for our younger players, what an experience for them, and they didn’t disappoint. They had some great moments today, and this game, although we lost, will do them the world of good.”
Asked about the difference between the games top teams, he added: “That’s the level, the difference in them handling the ball. There was always going to be that difference.
“We had to take our moments, which we had, but unfortunately we didn’t. We didn’t let anyone down tonight. We gave everything and, unfortunately, just came up short.”