Leagues

Wayne Rooney has been appointed permanent manager of Derby County, the club have confirmed.

Former England and Manchester United forward Rooney had been in caretaker charge of the EFL Championship club since the departure of Phillip Cocu in November.

Since then Rooney, who was a player-coach since arriving in January 2020, has taken training alongside coaches Shay Given, Liam Rosenior and Justin Walker.

In that time the 35-year-old has overseen an upturn in form that saw them lose only once in eight games. However, they have lost three of their last four fixtures, including an FA Cup third-round exit against Non-League Chorley that was overshadowed by a coronavirus outbreak.

Rooney, who played for D.C. United in MLS between 2018 and 2020, said in November that he would retire from professional football if he was given the Derby job on a full-time basis.

“If I’m managing the team for a longer scale, I don’t think it’s possible to manage and play, so that [no longer playing] is a possibility,” he said.

“If I’m not managing the team, and I’m part of the coaching staff then I’ll continue to play, but if I’m asked to manage the team on a full-time basis then, of course, that will be the end of my playing days, yes.”

Derby are in the Championship relegation zone on goal difference, with 19 points from 22 games. They face relegation rivals Rotherham on Saturday.

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