Derby County’s Wayne Rooney is prepared to call time on his playing career if asked to fill the position of manager left vacant following Phillip Cocu’s sacking, the former England captain said on Friday.
Player-coach Rooney has been assisted by Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker following Cocu’s departure this month and will take sole charge of the Championship (second-tier) club when they host Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
“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,” Rooney was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“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.”
Bottom-placed Derby have lost their past two matches, against Bristol City and Middlesbrough, and Rooney said his team needed one voice to help them arrest their slump.
“We discussed it and felt that I was the right man to do that … for the players to also have that clarity of knowing that there’s one person in charge is important,” Rooney told the Derby website.
“We’re preparing the sessions [together] but ultimately the final decisions are on me. I’ll take the responsibility for that in the same way I’ll take responsibility for the result.
“I’ve made it clear that going into management is what I want to do, and it’s an exciting time for myself to prepare the team, to pick the team … obviously see things during the game which I can have an effect on from the sidelines.”