Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has been appointed Derby manager on a permanent basis, with the 35-year-old agreeing a contract through to the summer of 2023 as he calls time on an illustrious playing career.
The former England captain has been in temporary charge of the Rams since November, when Phillip Cocu was dismissed with the East Midlands outfit struggling towards the wrong end of the Championship table.
Rooney oversaw three wins and four draws across nine games as interim boss, but is now committed to the first managerial post of his career to date and will be looking to steer Derby clear of trouble.
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He will be assisted by Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker, while Steve McClaren is to continue in a role as technical director and advisor to the board.
Derby chief executive officer, Stephen Pearce, has told the club’s official website: “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 our 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, who had been filling a player-coach role with the Rams since returning to England from a spell in MLS with D.C. United, said of his appointment “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 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.”
Rooney, who remains the leading all-time goalscorer for Manchester United and England, is following in the footsteps of former Three Lions team-mate Frank Lampard – with the current Chelsea boss having guided Derby to the Championship play-off final in 2019.