Wayne Rooney says he is delighted to get the chance to “roll his sleeves up” and join recently retired England stars trying to be successful managers.
He is launching his managerial career at the same club Frank Lampard started, before moving to Chelsea.
Rooney’s former England team-mates Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker have also moved into management.
The former Manchester United striker’s appointment comes after nine games in sole charge at Derby, before the FA Cup defeat at Chorley which he missed due to a coronavirus outbreak, and two as part of a four-man coaching team.
He has already spoken to good friend Gerrard, who has led Rangers into a position to end their long wait for a Scottish Premiership title, while John Terry is not far away geographically on the coaching staff at Aston Villa.
When you add in Parker, who guided Fulham to promotion last season and is battling to keep the Cottagers in the top flight, there is 436 caps’ worth of England experience taking a chance in the unpredictable world of management, at a time when the warmth of a TV studio offers a lucrative alternative.
“It’s great that there’s a core of young English players who appeared for their country rolling their sleeves up and trying to dig in and take the opportunity they were given,” Rooney said.
“They are people who could earn a lot of money doing TV work and speaking about players or managers from a studio.
“I spoke to Steven on Wednesday. He’s a good friend of mine and has gone down the managerial route at a young age. We approach the game in different ways but there’s no harm in speaking to them about their experiences and what they’ve been through.”
Rooney has been in pole position to get the Derby job for a few weeks.
The decision was delayed in the hopes a takeover of the club, which was expected to go through in November, would overcome its final hurdles.
That has not happened but Rooney received enough reassurance to sign his contract and bring one of English football’s most decorated playing careers to an end.
There was not a lot of glamour in his final game – a 3-0 hammering at Middlesbrough in November – but Rooney does not regret a thing.
“I’ve had a great career and enjoyed every minute,” said the Manchester United’s record goalscorer.
“Of course, I will miss it but I’ve been very fortunate to play for some massive teams. Playing for Everton was a boyhood dream of mine and then to go and play for 13 years at United was the highlight. To stay at the biggest club in the world for so long and win so many trophies is something I’ll always appreciate.”