Former England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has agreed a deal to join Championship club Derby County as a player-coach in January 2020.
The 33-year-old, currently playing for MLS side DC United, is Manchester United and England’s all-time record goalscorer. He has scored 23 goals in 41 league games in the States, showing he is still up to the task at a high level. The forward will join the East Midland’s club on an initial 18-month contract, and says he is excited about the opportunity.
“I’m sure I can make a big contribution,” said Rooney.
“While the decision to move home was a tough one, family is everything to us and we make this change to be closer to the ones we love back in England.
“I am very excited about the opportunity Derby County have provided me with. I am looking forward to joining [Derby manager] Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January.
“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County, working with both the first team and academy.”
Derby manager Phillip Cocu also said he is excited to have Rooney join the club in 5 months time, saying that there is no doubt he will make a positive impact with the Rams.
“The inspiration and motivation this can generate is massive for all of our players from the first team right through to the youngsters in the academy,” said Cocu.
“To have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us.”
Despite the move looking like it will be aimed at getting Rooney into a management role in the near future, Derby chairman Mel Morris has ensured fans that he will be joining the club as a player.
“To have Wayne Rooney as a player, and equally as an aspiring coach, is incredible and I can only imagine the buzz this will generate amongst our supporters,” said Morris.
“This is clearly an exciting signing for us. On the back of Wayne joining, we have just been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor.”
[Quotes via BBC Sport]