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Wayne Rooney

Man Utd legend Rooney ready to play at Derby & has no plans to retire any time soon

14:50 GMT 30/12/2019
Wayne Rooney England National Team Derby
The Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer, who also holds that record with England, is preparing to return to competitive action in the Championship

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney is ready to make a playing return in English football, with the Derby coach having no plans to retire any time soon.

England’s all-time leading goalscorer has been working with the Rams behind the scenes since his contract at MLS side D.C. United came to a close.

He has had to wait until January before getting back out on the field, with a frustrating spell watching on from the sidelines taken in by the former Everton and United star.

Rooney is now raring to go, heading towards a meeting with Barnsley on Thursday, and he believes he still has plenty to offer.

The 34-year-old told Sky Sports: “I signed in the summer but I’ve been in for a few weeks now training and I’m ready to play. I’m looking forward to it.

“I feel my body is still ready to play, I feel good. As long as I feel I can benefit the team, then I’ll play.

“I feel I can add quality to the team, experience. I feel there is plenty I can offer.”

On the Championship, he said: “It’s a league that I’ve always watched and it’s a bit different to the Premier League – there are a lot more games first of all.

“Quality-wise it’s probably not as good as the Premier League but it’s a good league. You have to battle to get results and I have no problem with that.

“I think it will be similar [to MLS]. Probably better individual players. It’s a tough league and I’m ready for it.”

Asked where he expects to play, the once fearsome frontman said: “I don’t know. I’ve played many different positions throughout my career and feel ability-wise I can do that.

“It depends on how the manager wants to play. I’m sure I’ll play different positions again.

“It’s frustrating for a player to be around training and not being able to play. The only time that happens is when you’re injured. It’s been frustrating but not too long to go now.”

Rooney has committed to an 18-month player-coach contract with Derby and has suggested that he could play on beyond that point.

He added: “That depends on different circumstances. I have an 18-month contract. It depends on how my body is after that and how Derby feel I have done.

“I feel good. I’ve been lucky in my career that I haven’t had major muscle injuries that can affect you later on. I haven’t missed a training session in two years. I will play for as long as my body allows me.”

Once the day comes to hang up his boots, Rooney is planning to make a move into management.

He said: “Of course. When I finish playing, that is something I want to move into. I’m an ambitious person and want to give it a go. I feel I have a lot to offer the game.

“The opportunity came up here and the big thing for me was to be able to play and have the coaching role where I can get that experience for the transition from player to coach.”