Former Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney has been appointed as the manager of Derby County on a two-and-a-half-year deal which brings an official end to his playing career.
Rooney took charge as interim boss in November while continuing to play following the departure of Dutchman Phillip Cocu. In all competitions the 35-year-old has won three of his 10 matches in charge of the club struggling at the bottom end of the Championship table.
County are currently 22nd in the English second tier, but equal on 19 points with 21st-placed Sheffield Wednesday with a game in hand.
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Wayne Rooney 'ready and prepared' for permanent Derby job
Rooney told the club's official website: “When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County Football Club. The stadium, training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive.
“Despite other offers I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me.
To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour and I can promise everyone in involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club.
Liam Rosenior, Shay Given, and Justin Walker will retain their positions on Rooney's coaching staff, while former England manager Steve McClaren is continue in his role of technical director and as an advisor to the board of directors.
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DERBY CEO: UPTURN IN RESULTS IMPRESSED US
Derby County’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Pearce said: “We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Wayne Rooney as our new manager.
“Our recent upturn in results under Wayne was married together with some positive performances, notably the 2-0 home win over Swansea City and the 4-0 victory at Birmingham City.
“During that nine-game run we also dramatically improved their defensive record and registered five clean sheets in the process, while in the attacking third we became more effective and ruthless too.
“Those foundations have provided a platform for the club to build on in the second half of the season under Wayne’s guidance.”
ROONEY'S ROAD TO MANAGEMENT
Rooney, who scored an all-time record 53 goals for England and is also Manchester United's record scorer, joined Derby in a player-coach capacity a year ago from MLS side DC United and made 35 appearances for the club.
He had been interim manager at Derby since the club parted company with Cocu.
Rooney began his playing career with boyhood club Everton, scoring his first goal in spectacular fashion as a 16-year-old against Arsenal.
He became one of the country's most iconic players, scoring 253 goals for United and winning five league titles and the Champions League. Rooney is also England's most capped outfield player, with 120 international appearances.
Rooney, who made more than 700 professional appearances during his career, said he would leave "no stone unturned" in trying to bring the good times back to Derby and he received backing from his first manager at Everton, David Moyes.
"He has had an incredible career and he's chosen to stop playing and I'm sure that's for the right reasons," Moyes, now West Ham United manager, told reporters on Friday.
"It's a different world, the best players don't always make the best managers but Wayne's love of the game and his drive will give him every chance of being successful."
Additional reporting from Reuters.
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