Wayne Rooney has given his backing to Mauricio Pochettino over Erik ten Hag in the race to become Manchester United’s next permanent manager.
Pochettino and Ten Hag are the frontrunners for the position as the Red Devils seek to appoint a permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of next season, with the club currently conducting their recruitment process.
Ten Hag is understood to have impressed during a formal interview with the Old Trafford hierarchy, though Rooney believes Pochettino’s Premier League experience gives him the edge over the Ajax boss.
The former Manchester United captain believes the Paris Saint-Germain manager’s familiarity with English football should make him the favourite, following successful spells at Southampton and Tottenham.
“I think Pochettino’s done it in the Premier League,” Rooney said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“He knows the Premier League. At Tottenham, he brought a lot of young players through, at Southampton as well.
“If I’m choosing from one of them two, that’s who I’d choose.
“I’d go with Pochettino, and give him time. For managers now, they need time to come in and actually put their blueprint on the club and the team, and if you give him time, I think he’ll do well.”
Rooney also discussed his own managerial ambitions, having impressed amid testing circumstances at Championship side Derby.
The 36-year-old was approached over the Everton job earlier in the campaign and admits the prospect of managing either of his former Premier League sides is something that appeals to him further down the line.
However, Rooney believes he is currently in the ‘right place’ to continue his development as a coach before testing himself at the highest level.
“There are two clubs: Everton and Manchester United. I’m an Everton fan, I was at Man Utd for 13 years. I feel if I keep doing what I’m doing, keep learning, keep improving, those two clubs one day in the future I’d love to go and manage.
“You’ve got to trust in yourself and believe in yourself. Of course there will be temptation there. There might be offers that come in and you think, ‘I’m going to go for that’. But you need to be in the right place and I believe I’m in the right place. I’m developing as a manager, developing as a coach and I’m learning.
“I understand when Frank Lampard went to Chelsea, it’s so difficult to say no. But when you go into one of these big clubs you need to make sure it’s the right time and you’re able to develop and take that club forward.
“I got approached by Everton to interview for the manager’s job but I’m in a job, I’m still learning and I felt it wasn’t the right time.”