Wayne Rooney is hoping to follow his former England teammates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard into football management, the former striker preparing to take charge of Derby County this weekend.
The former Manchester United and Everton attacker will take the reigns at the Championship side this weekend, the Rams bottom of the table and having sacked Philip Cocu after they picked up just six points from their opening 11 games, even being overtaken by Sheffield Wednesday who started the season with a six-point deduction.
Player-coach Rooney has been handed the reigns at Pride Park on an interim basis for the next three games which will see Derby face Bristol City, Middlesbrough and Wycombe before the club makes a decision on a permanent appointment.
The former England captain has never made a secret of his ambitions to step into football management after hanging up his boots, and he is using the example of former international teammates Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Scott Parker as inspiration; Gerrard currently in his third season in charge at Rangers, Parker in his second full season at Fulham, while Lampard is in his second season at Chelsea having first earned his stripes at Derby.
“I wouldn’t be an ambitious person if I sat here and said I didn’t want the job,” Rooney told the media at a press conference.
“We all come into this game to play football and then you have a decision to make: do you want to go into coaching or management?
“I’ve made it quite clear over the last few years that my ambition is to go into management, especially when you see the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Scott Parker all getting good jobs and doing really well at it.
“We have to get the next two or three games out the way first, but if they go well it puts me in a better position to put our names forward for that role. We’re working together and if it works [as a group] it could be a way forward also.
“It’s working really well for the four of us, there are disagreements but that’s healthy for us and the players.”
Rooney joined Derby back in January as part of Cocu’s backroom staff, taking on a player-manager role following 18 months with MLS outfit DC United, scoring seven goals in 33 appearances for the second-tier side.
The Croxteth born forward turned 35 last month, and admits his playing days are drawing towards an end.
“I’m not in the twilight of my career any more. I’m 35 now so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
“I’ve got my toes in both dressing rooms, one as a player and one trying to help lead the team. We’ll see where this takes us and there will be a decision made from there.”