Wayne Rooney is pleased big-name former England players are no longer shunning management as he starts his role as a player-coach at Derby.
Before Frank Lampard at Chelsea this season, the last former England players with more than 50 caps to start a top-flight campaign in charge of a Premier League team were Kevin Keegan at Newcastle United and Gareth Southgate at Middlesbrough in 2008.
Lampard’s former Chelsea team-mate John Terry is also assistant to Dean Smith at Aston Villa, Scott Parker is attempting to win promotion back to the Premier League at Fulham, while Steven Gerrard has signed a two-year contract extension with Scottish Premiership title challengers Rangers.
Rooney intends to begin working towards his Uefa A coaching licence in the new year as his next step to joining his former England team-mates in beginning managerial careers.
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“It is brilliant,” said the 34-year-old, who joined Derby from MLS side DC United, of this new trend.
“There has been a lack of former England players going into management in the last 10 to 15 years.
“When they finish nowadays, players have enough money not to have to do it. TV comes in and they can earn good money doing that. But it is great to see those four working and doing so well.”
Rooney says his own management aspirations will be on hold during his 18-month stint at Championship side Derby, even ‘though he is officially a player-coach in support of manager Phillip Cocu.
He started to think about his post-playing career when he was at Manchester United and feels his role at Pride Park will indulge his passion for discussing the game.
“I used to sit with Ryan Giggs and analyse the opposition,” he said.
“I love watching and talking about football. This allows me to do that but also have an opinion with the coaches.”
Rooney is not going vegan
It is more than 17 years since Rooney announced himself to the football world with a brilliant winner for Everton against Arsenal at Goodison Park as a 16-year-old.
It launched a career that saw Rooney eclipse Sir Bobby Charlton as the record goal-scorer for Manchester United and England.
Although international success proved elusive, Rooney won every club honour in the game during his 13 years at Old Trafford.
Despite a lot of mileage in his legs from more than 600 games at the top level, the striker remains old school in his attitude.
Asked if it is harder to get out of bed at the end of a demanding career than it was at the start, Rooney just shrugs.
“It is a bit different,” he says. “I need my coffee on a morning and with four kids, I get up a bit earlier.
“But I still enjoy getting up and getting ready to go to work. Giggsy did his yoga but I have never been a big stretcher.
“I have always seemed to be able to walk on the pitch and hit balls and not really need to warm-up that much. And I won’t be going vegan. I like my meat.
“It has gone quickly though, especially after I got to 30. Alan Stubbs used to tell me to enjoy it because it goes so quickly.
“I was 16 at the time, had just got in the team and thought he was just saying it because he was old. But I am at that stage now and, actually, it is good advice.”
Good luck to ‘Big Dunc’
Rooney will again be only in the dug-out as Derby entertain Millwall on Saturday – he will not make his playing debut until 2 January against Barnsley – so will have the chance to watch his two old clubs on Sunday as Manchester United play Everton.
Rooney was pleased Duncan Ferguson was given the temporary task of stabilising Everton after the sacking of Marco Silva and start with a victory against Chelsea.
“The Everton fans needed to see that from the team and they needed to see that reaction from the manager on the touchline,” he said.
“At Everton it is not a case of getting the ball and playing it out from the back with 500 or 600 passes. The fans want to see the ball getting forward and into the box.
“Duncan just reminded the players that sometimes football can be simple. I am really pleased for him.
“He is Mr Everton and you never know, if he gets a win on Sunday, he will put himself in the reckoning to get it [the job] full-time.”