Our columnist Laura Lawrence reflects on the young English manager’s departure after spending two years with the Rams, and believes a junior role under an experienced boss is perhaps what he needs.Embed from Getty Images
Wayne Rooney left Derby County last week but despite the state of the club and its ongoing saga of finding a new owner, he leaves with his reputation enhanced.
The 36-year-old asked to be freed from his contract like a hostage negotiating his release, citing the need for the administration-hit club to be “led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last eighteen months.” Rooney needs a break, but a better one than clutching his wife Coleen’s handbag in court as she faces off against Rebekah Vardy in a defamation trial.
His sudden departure could also be to do with his agent, Paul Stretford, being under investigation by the FA for allegedly paying £1.6milllion in player wages back in May 2022. According to some sources, the 64-year-old is a “close associate” of Chris Kirchner, the American businessman who was attempting to buy the Derbyshire club at the time.
Stepping away from a club he has clearly invested much of his energy and devotion in, the question remains: what’s next for Rooney?
Rooney has always given the impression that he would go anywhere as long as he could be involved in football. Give him a ball and he’d play in the park for free.
The bookies have Rooney as favourite to return to Everton as manager, the golden boot of Goodison dangling over his peer Frank Lampard. With the Chelsea legend also cutting his managerial teeth at Derby, maybe Pride Park is the stark education the Golden Generation need to prepare them for higher things. His next move will also depend on whether he wants to take a starring role or is willing to learn under a more experienced manager.Embed from Getty Images
Take Mark Warburton, for example, who has recently joined West Ham under David Moyes as assistant first-team coach. He’s an experienced manager in his own right but he believes that the Scot is building a side that can compete at the very top of the league. Rooney strikes me as someone who would not only benefit from a position like this but also relish it.
Rooney may also choose to return to America. His time in the MLS was successful and rejuvenating for the striker. It could be another route to honing his coaching skills.
There are few players from that Golden Generation that I feel have it in them to be great managers. Egos and team building don’t naturally go hand in hand. Rooney has the commitment, passion and modesty that could make him as successful a manager as he was a player. It will be interesting to see what path he chooses.
Follow Laura Lawrence on Twitter @YICETOR