The former Red Devils striker, who will be freed to take a playing role with the Rams in January, is set to join Phillip Cocu’s coaching staff
Wayne Rooney is ready to make his return to English football, with Derby County revealing that the Manchester United legend will be on their bench for their upcoming Championship clash with QPR.
The Rams announced back in August that an agreement had been reached with the former England captain.
At that time, Rooney was in the process of completing a MLS season with D.C. United.
He was, however, happy to agree a homecoming from the United States on an 18-month contract.
A player-coach role has been lined up at Pride Park, but Rooney will not be able to take to the field until January.
He can slot in alongside Phillip Cocu on the Rams’ coaching staff, though, and is looking forward to opening a new chapter in his distinguished career.
Cocu told reporters at his pre-match press conference: “It’s positive for everyone and himself as well.
“It’s good that he is here and the fans can see him. He will get involved in team tactics and we can use and benefit from his experience.”
The Derby manager added: “He will get to know the way we want to play and how we want to work.
“He will be important between the link up in players and management. It’s an important period for us to make a good combination.”
Rooney’s last outing in English football came against Huddersfield Town at the end of the 2017-18.
He was taking in a second spell with Everton at that stage, but began to slip down the pecking order under Sam Allardyce.
D.C. United took advantage of that by luring England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer to America.
Rooney showed that he has lost none of his ability or desire while competing in MLS, with an immediate impact made in new surroundings.
He registered 25 goals in 52 appearances for D.C. United, helping to turn them into play-off contenders.
Derby will be hoping that Rooney can achieve similar while on their books.
The Rams suffered play-off final heartache under the guidance of Frank Lampard last season, but have struggled to build on those foundations since appointing Cocu and are currently sat 14th in the Championship – six points adrift of the promotion-chasing pack.
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